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Spring

por Ali Smith

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Seasonal Quartet (3)

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4092446,741 (4.07)71
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 tell 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.--… (mais)
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» Ver também 71 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
“want kijken is nog maar het begin van begrijpen, nog maar het oppervlak, de toplaag van elk begrip”
Hoe frappant is dit citaat, ergens lukraak in de tekst, toegepast op dit boek zelf! Bij het lezen van dit derde deel van Smith’s seizoenencyclus was ik dikwijls het noorden kwijt: Smith weeft verschillende verhaallijnen door elkaar, last op zich staande passages in met bijvoorbeeld trumpiaanse haatspeech, ogenschijnlijk absurdistische dialogen, enz. Maar bovenal zit haar boek tjokvol met extra-tekstuele verwijzingen, en als je die dan mist, dan doet dat wel wat af aan het leesplezier. Zo had ik bijvoorbeeld niet door dat het 12-jarige wonderkind Florence een verwijzing was naar Shakespeare’s Pericles (ik wist niet eens dat hij een toneelstuk onder die naam had geschreven). Kortom, dit was een beproeving.

Bij het lezen zocht ik naar twee sleutels: waar zitten de verwijzingen naar het seizoen Lente, en waar zijn er kruisverwijzingen naar de vorige delen Herfst en Winter? Om het op het eerste te houden: ik had me verwacht aan klassieke hints naar herop-verend leven, naar licht in plaats van duisternis, naar elementen van hoop in plaats van wanhoop. En die zijn er zeker wel, maar dit boek bevat net opvallend veel verwijzingen naar dood en miserie, en de lichtpuntjes zijn eerder schaars. Ik heb de indruk dat Smith vooral de beroemde openingszinnen van Eliot’s Wasteland (“April is the cruellest month") in de verf wilde zetten, en dat wordt ook op de slotpagina’s van dit deel onderstreept: “April leert ons alles. De koudste en gemeenste dagen van het jaar kunnen in april vallen. Het geeft niet. Het is april”.

Net als in de vorige delen is Smith weer heel expliciet politiek: in bedekte termen worden Trump en de Brexit er weer doorgehaald, op een bepaald moment wordt een vernietigende kritiek van het laatkapitalisme gepresenteerd, maar het meest verbindende thema is duidelijk het hypocriete vluchtelingenbeleid. Allemaal weer geen dingen om vrolijk over te worden.

Kortom, geen eenvoudig boekje. Ik moet toegeven dat ik na het zoveelste hoofdstukje dat schijnbaar losstond van het vorige en tal van mysterieuze, soms ronduit absurdistische scenes of dialogen bevatte, het spoor wel bijster was. Gelukkig was er de stijl: de literaire flair die Smith hanteert verzoent je met dat tasten in het duister, en je gaat je er op de duur zelfs op instellen dat je onmogelijk alle betekenissen kan achterhalen. Dat nodigt uit tot achterover leunen en genieten, kun je zeggen, maar zo zit ik niet in elkaar. Met andere woorden: dit was een beproeving. Ik schort mijn eindoordeel over deze cyclus op tot ik ook het vierde deel, Zomer, achter de kiezen heb. ( )
  bookomaniac | May 24, 2021 |
Another season, same great feeling. Ali Smith continues to create a wonderful mindset of feelings. I’ve become seriously addicted to these books. When I started Spring, I was feeling that I liked Winter the best, and then I kept reading, and I wasn’t as sure. All three of the seasons/books are clever and find a daring and fresh use of language. They are all uniquely strange in that they don’t use much of any narrative or have a firm plotline running through them, Smith does her thing and leaves impressions. The books have different characters that reappear within them, but there aren’t many active scenes.

And then there’s the visual appearance that uses several styles in different sections, many with a variety of font sizes and layouts. Often there were many short lines, almost like a form of poetry, but they were always evolving. She also creates a text that is very rich in puns. Smith keeps the reader on their toes, as one is never sure if you’re reading a dream, are being invited into a hallucination, and where the book will pull together, or if it even needs to. A reviewer said that Spring made them think of something in a raw state like a Twitter rant.

One of the book’s major characters is named Florence, who we “know” to be in her early teens, but most everything else about her isn’t nailed down, isn’t firm, anything else about her could just be some vague rumors of fact. How does Smith make this vagueness work so well? I’m not even going to attempt an explanation here. The two main discernable stories in the book do eventually bring Florence together with the more defined characters of Brit (who works at an Immigration Removal center outside of London), and Richard (a television director who was much more relevant back in the 1970s), in a Scottish town and it somehow miraculously works. Ali Smith could be an outstanding poker player, as she’s very good at holding her cards close to her chest, while keeping an excellent poker face that reveals nothing beyond what makes her writing able to amaze the reader.

Because I waited several years until I had all four volumes of the quartet in hand, I have chosen to read them in order, but I’m still pondering exactly how a different order would change the overall experience. Again, I don’t have an answer. That old standby line about not overthinking something, and to simply let art wash over you … comes to mind. The political and social landscape of Great Britain was making some serious twists and turns as she wrote some of these books during the evolution of Brexit. The anger and discord of the different factions seems to bring more of an edge to this season.

This is a vague review, but these books are not written in black and white with clear boundaries, they work for me because I’m trying mightily to keep my anal-retentive, detail-craving mind in the background. Anyone reading this piece knew this line of thought would show up before I was done here: these books will either work for you or you’ll be on the outside wondering what exactly you just read. Through the first three books, I’ve been in the room thoroughly loving these seasons. ( )
  jphamilton | May 4, 2021 |
‘’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.’’

Four people meet in Scotland under peculiar circumstances. An elderly director who has lost his heart, a troubled young woman, an enigmatic librarian/canteen-keeper and an extraordinary 12-year-old girl searching for her mother. How can one person alter the lives of many? How can they save them? And how do we repay the help we have received? There are no easy answers to these questions. But we can read this book and try to understand.

‘’February. The first bee hits the window glass.
The light starts to push back, stark in the cold. But birdsong rounds the day, the first and last thing as the light comes and goes.
Even in the dark the air tastes different. In the light from the streetlight the branches of the bare trees are lit with rain. Something has changed. No matter how cold it is that rain is not winter rain any more.
The days lengthen.
That’s where the word Lent comes from’’

Richard, Florence, Brit and Alda find themselves in the setting of a contemporary Pericles, a tragedy enriched with the symbolism of the Spring, the rebirth and the rejuvenation of Hope. But is there any Hope, really? In stark and lyrical language, with Scotland at its heart, the novel is a raw commentary on the immigration crisis and Brexit, the daily life that has to go on in an environment of tension and uncertainty. But I’m not here to talk about politics. I never discuss such issues online, among absolute strangers. My opinions are my own and nobody’s business. I am interested in human relationships, this is what I always look for in a novel and Ali Smith excels in that field. With Florence as our mysterious guide and the sad voice of Richard, we become a part of a story about loss, reconciliation with the past, surviving a threatening present that is draining, justice and dignity.

‘’If you rise at dawn in a clear sky, and during the month of March, they say you can catch a bag of air so intoxicated with the essence of spring that when it is distilled and prepared, it will produce an oil of gold, remedy enough to heal all ointments.’’

It’s not just the story that makes Spring special but also the beautiful tidbits that elevate the novel. The beautiful character of Paddy, the enticing, cryptic Alda, the wisdom of Florence. The harrowing descriptions of the Troubles, the beautiful homage to Katherine Mansfield and Rainer Maria Rilke. The poignant observations on the absurd fashion and worry that every word we use may end up being offensive as dictated by the Twitter mob that launches crusades, hidden behind a screen and a (probably) dirty keyboard. The Highland traditions, the scenes from Candlemass, the story of St Brigid, the awakening of March, the dance of the Maidens, the echoes of the Jacobite Rising.

I can only imagine the perfection that Summer and Autumn are going to be…

‘’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?’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Mar 27, 2021 |
Each of the books in Smith's Seasonal Quartet focus on a few major subjects/social justice issues/moral imperatives. Spring explores the detainment of refugees and migrants as well as the dehumanization of the people who we place in these centers (as well as the general disregard and/or derision that our society has for people labeled 'other' or 'foreign') . She looks at this topic through a few different lenses so that the reader can get a full view of the situation. We see the inside of a detainment facility in the UK through the eyes of a Detainment Officer named Brittany who has lost all compassion for the people under her 'care'. [A/N: The care aspect is dubious at best if the person doing the caring sees the people as inconveniences instead of humans which is pretty much the main point that Smith is making.] When Brittany meets a young girl at the train station who seems to have an almost hypnotic effect on everyone that she meets (including Brittany) the story takes a turn because Brittany (as well as the reader) is confronted with serious questions about otherness, belonging, and moral responsibility on a macro scale.

The same time that this storyline is unfolding there is a parallel storyline following a director named Richard who has lost someone very close to him and has decided that life has lost all meaning as a result. His story is told very descriptively through literature and film references and without any visuals still manages to evoke clear pictures in the mind of the reader. (If you couldn't tell I really loved it.) Rainer Maria Rilke and Katherine Mansfield's stories are told alongside his as he wrestles with adapting a book about them into a film. I feel that Smith's writing is valuable and poignant as well as incredibly relevant (purposely so which is why I somewhat regret not reading these as they came out). I'm very much looking forward to the last in the series but I'm also sad to be finishing the journey. Spring is a definite 10/10.

[A/N: As a slight spoiler, there are mentions of suicidal ideation so be aware if that might be triggering to you.] ( )
  AliceaP | Mar 12, 2021 |
The third in Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet, and another good, engaging read. I really enjoy Smith's wonderfully complex narratives. ( )
  JBD1 | Feb 13, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This is a novel that contains multitudes, and the wonder is that Smith folds so much in, from visionary nature writing to Twitter obscenities, in prose that is so deceptively relaxed.
adicionada por thorold | editarThe Guardian, Justine Jordan (Mar 30, 2019)
 

» Adicionar outros autores

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Ali Smithautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Burton, JulietteNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hockney, DavidArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kustodiev, Boris MikhaylovichArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Munday, OliverDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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He seems to be a stranger, but his present is
A withered branch that's only green at top.
The motto: in hac spe vivo.
William Shakespeare
But if the endlessly dead awakened a symbol in us,
perhaps they would point to the catkins hanging from the bare
branches of the hazes-trees, or
would evoke the raindrops that fall onto the dark earth in springtime. -
Rainer Maria Rilke / Stephen Mitchell
We must begin, which is the point.
After Trump, we must begin.
Alain Badiou
I am looking for signs of Spring already.
Katherine Mansfield
The year stretched like a child
and rubbed its eyes on light.
George Mackay Brown
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To keep in mind
my brother
Gordon Smith

and for
my brother
Andrew Smith

to keep in mind
my friend
Sarah Daniel

and for
o bloomiest!
Sarah Wood
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Now what we don't want is Facts.
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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 tell 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.--

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