Spring by Ali SmithSpring by Ali Smith


byAli Smith

Hardcover | April 30, 2019

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“This is the most political book thus far in this earthy and humane series. Its heart is worn far out on its sleeve. It beats arrhythmically somewhere down near the knuckles….Smith’s vision isn’t fundamentally pessimistic, however. There’s too much squirming life in her fiction, slashes of cleansing light for those who seek it.” - New York Times

"Her best book yet, a dazzling hymn to hope, uniting the past and the present with a chorus of voices."--The Guardian

From the Man Booker-shortlisted author of Autumn and Winter, as well as the Baileys Prize-winning How to be both, comes the next installment in the remarkable, once-in-a-generation masterpiece, the Seasonal Quartet

What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times?

Spring. The great connective.

With an eye to the migrancy of story over time, and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare's most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tells the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown Smith opens the door.

The time we're living in is changing nature. Will it change the nature of story?

Hope springs eternal.
ALI SMITH is the author of many works of fiction, including, most recently, Winter, Autumn, Public library and other stories, and How to be both, which won the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction, the Goldsmiths Prize, and the Costa Novel of the Year Award. Her work has four times been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Born in Invern...
Title:SpringFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.52 × 5.57 × 1.33 inPublished:April 30, 2019Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:067007005X

ISBN - 13:9780670070053

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Read from the Book

Now what we don’t want is Facts. What we want is bewilderment. What we want is repetition. What we want is repetition. What we want is people in power saying the truth is not the truth. What we want is elected members of parliament saying knife getting heated stuck in her front and twisted things like bring your own noose we want governing members of parliament in the house of commons shouting kill yourself at opposition members of parliament we want powerful people saying they want other powerful people chopped up in bags in my freezer we want muslim women a joke in a newspaper column we want the laugh we want the sound of that laugh behind them everywhere they go. We want the people we call foreign to feel foreign we need to make it clear they can’t have rights unless we say so. What we want is outrage offence distraction. What we need is to say thinking is elite knowledge is elite what we need is people feeling left behind disenfranchised what we need is people feeling. What we need is panic we want subconscious panic we want conscious panic too. We need emotion we want righteousness we want anger. We need all that patriotic stuff. What we want is same old Scandal Of The Alcoholic Mothers Danger Of The Daily Aspirin but with more emergency Nein Nein Nein we need a hashtag #linedrawn we want Give Us What We Want Or We’ll Walk we want fury we want outrage we want words at their most emotive antisemite is good nazi is great paedo will really do it perverted foreigner illegal we want gut reaction we want Age Test For ‘Child Migrants’ 98% Demand Ban New Migrants Gunships To Stop Migrants How Many More Can We Take Bolt Your Doors Hide Your Wives we want zero tolerance. We need news to be phone size. We need to bypass mainstream media. We need to look past the interviewer talk straight to camera. We need to send a very clear strong unmistakable message. We need newsfeed shock. We need more newsfeed shock come on quick next newsfeed shock pull the finger out we want torture images. We need to get to them we need them to think we can get to them get the word lynching to anyone not white. We want rape threats death threats 24/7 to black / female members of parliament no just women doing anything public anyone doing anything public we don’t like we need How Dare She / How Dare He / How Dare They. We need to suggest the enemy within. We need enemies of the people we want their judges called enemies of the people we want their journalists called enemies of the people we want the people we decide to call enemies of the people called enemies of the people we want to say loudly over and over again on as many tv and radio shows as possible how they’re silencing us. We need to say all the old stuff like it’s new. We need news to be what we say it is. We need words to mean what we say they mean. We need to deny what we’re saying while we’re saying it. We need it not to matter what words mean. We need a good old slogan Britain no England / America / Italy / France / Germany / Hungary / Poland / Brazil / [insert name of country] First. We need the dark web money algorithms social media. We need to say we’re doing it for freedom of speech. We need bots we need cliche we need to offer hope. We need to say it’s a new era the old era’s dead their time’s over it’s our time now. We need to smile a lot while we say it we need to laugh on camera ha ha ha thump man laughing his head off hear that factory whistle at the end of the day that factory’s dead we’re the new factory whistle we’re what this country’s needed all along we’re what you need we’re what you want.         What we want is need.         What we need is want.    That time again, is it? (Shrugs.)         None of it touches me. It’s nothing but water and dust. You’re nothing but bonedust and water. Good. More useful to me in the end.         I’m the child who’s been buried in leaves. The leaves rot down: here I am.         Or picture a crocus in snow. See the ring of the thaw round the crocus? That’s the door open into the earth. I’m the green in the bulb and the moment of split in the seed, the unfurl of the petal, the dabber of ends of the branches of trees with the green as if green is alight.         The plants that push up through the junk and the plastic, earlier, later, they’re coming, regardless. The plants shift beneath you regardless, the people in sweatshops, the people out shopping, the people at desks in the light off their screens or scrolling their phones in the surgery waiting rooms, the protesters shouting, wherever, whatever the city or country, the light shifts, the flowers nod next to the corpseheap and next to the places you live and the places you drink yourselves stupid or happy or sad and the places you pray to your gods and the big supermarkets, the people on motorways speeding past verges and scrubland like nothing is happening. Everything is. The flowerheads open all over the flytip. The light shifts across your divides, round the people with passports, the people with money, the people with nothing, past sheds and canals and cathedrals, your airports, your graveyards, whatever you bury, whatever you dig up to call it your history or drill down to use up for money, the light shifts regardless.         The truth is a kind of regardless.         The winter’s a nothing to me.         Do you think I don’t know about power? You think I was born green?         I was.         Mess up my climate, I’ll fuck with your lives. Your lives are a nothing to me. I’ll yank daffodils out of the ground in December. I’ll block up your front door in April with snow and blow down that tree so it cracks your roof open. I’ll carpet your house with the river.         But I’ll be the reason your own sap’s reviving. I’ll mainline the light to your veins.         What’s under your road surface now?         What’s under your house’s foundations?         What’s warping your doors?         What’s giving your world the fresh colours? What’s the key to the song of the bird? What’s forming the beak in the egg?         What’s sending the thinnest of green shoots through that rock so the rock starts to split?

Editorial Reviews

“Her best book yet, a dazzling hymn to hope, uniting the past and the present with a chorus of voices...This is writing that acts by accretion, subliminally, weaving you into its webs of stories…And all of this rich material feels amplified by the echoes and resonances that thrum between Spring and its predecessors…[Smith] has always been a profoundly moral writer, but in this series of novels she is doing something more than merely anatomising the iniquities of her age. She’s lighting us a path out of the nightmarish now.” —The Guardian“Smith is a masterful storyteller. With just a few words she can build engaging worlds and identifiable characters. . . . What makes Smith extraordinary is the way she layers her work. The structure of Spring is fluid—she weaves in different voices and modernist riffs that come out of nowhere and stop you in your tracks. . . . Through her account of unlikely friendships, Smith brings human values to the fore. Savor it, because there is just one installment left.” —Susannah Butter, The Evening Standard“The third part of Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet, Spring, is timely not only because of its March release date, but because it weaves a story around the most pressing issues of our time: Brexit, the internet, the environment and immigration. . . . Smith finds delicious new tragic and comic moments everywhere. . . . Despite the stark indictment of humanity’s evils that this bubbling, babbling brook of a book contains, the real story is the eternal, deep pulse of nature doing its thing, oblivious to our sordid ways. Nature, in Smith’s hands, is a strange sort of mother, as are all the other women in Spring: unsentimental, wise, foul-mouthed and kind. Not unlike their creator. She tells stories in a voice you can’t help but listen to.” —Melissa Katsoulis, The Times of London“All is revealed in the spring of 2019. As in the first two books, Smith alludes to contemporary issues, such as #MeToo, Brexit, and fake news, but on immigrants she grabs a megaphone. . . . Roots, shoots, and buds abound amid myriad references to death and rebirth, from the Hanged Man pub to Orpheus, Norse mythology's Ragnarok, and Shelley's ‘The Cloud.’ The three novels have a few common elements—the pain and pleasure of creativity; the pairing of an older adult and an intelligent youth; the showcasing of an English female visual artist, here Tacita Dean—but they are self-contained and increasingly urgent in their hope that art might bring change. . . . Smith's work is always challenging and always rewarding.” —Kirkus Reviews [starred review] “The third book in Ali Smith’s quartet is her best yet, a dazzling hymn to hope, uniting the past and present . . . It feels like two things are happening here. First, Smith is increasingly recognizing the narrative possibilities of this new type of storytelling, finding deeper and more compelling ways of getting under the skin of her times. There’s something else, though. While reading Spring, I became suddenly aware of the extraordinary meta-novel—the year—that the quartet will form once it’s complete, and how thrilling and important that book will be . . . Now it’s possible to recognize quite how dazzling the interplay of ideas and images between the four books will be . . . There’s so much to say about this luminous, generous, hope-filled novel . . . All of this rich material feels amplified by the echoes and resonances that thrum between Spring and its predecessors. [Smith] has always been a profoundly moral writer, but in this series of novels she is doing something more than merely anatomizing the iniquities of her age. She’s lighting us a path out of the nightmarish now.” —Alex Preston, The Observer “Smith has always been attuned to the hidden absurdities and comforts of language, and part of her attraction to puns is that they are…always and inevitably meaningful…Spring takes great delight in uncovering the linguistic objet trouvé of everyday life” —Financial Times“In Spring the sense of hope and new beginnings, that “everything impossible is possible” is powerful. This is ultimately a book – like all of Smith’s – about the power of storytelling, and the need to tell even the most painful stories. The novel is rich in literary and artistic allusion, melding stories old and new…As well as being a superb stylist, Smith is not afraid of having a moral message in her work. She is one of the most important writers at work today.” —iNews