Seasonal Quartet by Ali Smith

Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet is a unique feat of modern literature that records perhaps the strangest time in living history. Spanning five years, they witness events from Brexit to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, creating stories that dissect time, art, politics, and how we live right now.

Featuring seasonal paintings by David Hockney, these are beautiful collectible editions, this tour-de-force quartet of novels are united by the passing of time, the timing of narrative, and the endless familiarity yet renewal that the cycle of the seasons is.

"That's the thing about things. They fall apart, always have, always will, it's in their nature." (Autumn)

Autumn

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

Two old friends—Daniel, a centenarian, and Elisabeth, born in 1984—look to both the future and the past as the United Kingdom stands divided by a historic, once-in-a-generation summer.

Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand-in-hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever.

Winter

Winter. Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. And now Art’s mother is seeing things. Come to think of it, Art’s seeing things himself.

When four people, strangers and family, converge on a fifteen-bedroom house in Cornwall for Christmas, will there be enough room for everyone?

Spring

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.

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

Hope springs eternal.

Summer

In the present, Sacha knows the world's in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world's in meltdown - and the real meltdown hasn't even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they're living on borrowed time.

They're family, but they think they're strangers. So: where does family begin? And what do people who think they've got nothing in common have in common?

Summer.

Companion Piece

“A story is never an answer. A story is always a question.”

Following her astonishing Seasonal Quartet, Ali Smith again lights a way for us through the nightmarish now, in a vital celebration of companionship in all its timeless and contemporary, legendary and unpindownable, spellbinding and shapeshifting forms.

Companion Piece stands apart from the Quartet, which remains discrete unto itself. But like Smith’s groundbreaking series, this new novel boldly captures the spirit of the times.