Posted Sep 15, 2017
Embrace the season with some autumnal-themed reads:
Ali Smith’s Autumn follows the unlikely friendship between a thirty-two year woman named Elisabeth and an one hundred and one year old man named Daniel. Elisabeth aspires to be an art historian while Daniel is dying, and through there candid conversations they explore a number of topics including art history, literature, sex, music, morality, and bureaucracy. It’s also important for readers to keep in mind that Smith’s multi-layered meditation is set during the summer of Brexit so it also captures the division of a country. Nonlinear and beautifully written, Smith’s Autumn, which is the first standalone title of a seasonal quartet, has the sole intention of unearthing who we are and what we are made of.
After the First World War, Bernard Jacquelain returns to France a cynical and broken man. However, France is rebounding with new shops, cozy apartments, and bourgeois society. Bernard turns to wealth and success, and he marries his best friend’s wife, Therese, after her husband passed away in the war. Through Bernard and Therese’s marriage, Nemirovsky explores the aftermath and ugly effects of war as time marches forward. When word of World War Two starts to spread through France, Bernard’s marriage begins to crumble as conflict approaches. The Fires of Autumn was translated to English and published in 2006, almost sixty-five years after Nemirovsky died in Auschwitz.
After Pearl passed away, her daughter Ada spread her ashes in the river by Pearl’s home. Now, Pearl’s spirit lives in the river while Ada and her daughter Pepper try to refurbish the house to be put up for sale. Ada has always wandered her whole life, and she has no desire to stay in her mother’s home. Meanwhile Pepper, who has encountered several learning challenges, finds inspiration in the old photographs that adorn her Pearl’s walls. Pepper is able to connect with a number of people who live in the river valley, and is captivated by an old woman who always has her feet in the river. As autumn turns to winter, Ada and Pepper realize why no one wants to leave the valley in this compelling novel about the meaning of community.