Ali Smith: Spring

The latest addition to my website is Ali Smith‘s Spring. This is another superb novel from Smith in her four-seasons tetralogy. The key theme in this book is the harsh treatment meted out to refugees in the UK but there is much, more more to the novel. We follow two stories. Richard Lease is a TV director. He has not worked for a while and is asked to direct a sexed-up version of a novel which tells of Katherine Mansfield and Rainer Maria Rilke who apparently stayed in the same remote Swiss hotel at around the same time in 1922 but probably never met. Meanwhile his great friend and normal scriptwriter, Paddy Neal is dying and does die. He can take no more and heads off to Scotland, getting off at Kingussie. Also heading for Kingussie are Britt and Florence. Britt works for a security company in an Immigration Removal Centre, while Florence is a strange twelve-year old girl, who managed to get changes made at the Centre and has an unusual effect on most people she meets. Smith raises many themes, from grief to clouds, from women artists to Brexit, from dumbing down to the UK government austerity programme, all leading to another first-class work.

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