Winter by Scottish author Ali Smith is the second book in her seasonal quartet. I loved the first book, Autumn and was eager to continue with the next season. It begins by introducing us to the character of Sophia who is in her 60’s. She is seeing and hearing things. One of the things she sees is a disembodied head that she talks to. Sophia is preparing for company for Christmas. Her son Art and his girlfriend Charlotte. Art is a blog writer. He is working on a post about the Winter Solstice and things have not gone well with Charlotte so he hires a woman to play Charlotte for the weekend.
Fake Charlotte is one of my favourite characters. When Art and fake Charlotte arrive, Sophia is acting strange. Fake Charlotte gets Art to call his Aunt Iris even though Iris and Sophia haven’t seen each other in decades. We continue to get flashbacks to the early 1980’s to learn more about Sophia, Iris, and Art’s father. Art believes he has only seen his father a couple of times and shares stories about his father with fake Charlotte.
The book is written in beautiful prose. I loved the wintery descriptions. I loved the characters and how the story continued its connections to Dickens which started with Autumn. It also continued a number of the same themes: nature, death, war, art, books, music, love, a passion for words and language.
If you’ve read Autumn then I highly recommend Winter. Some people say that you don’t have to read this quartet in order, but I suggest that you do. Autumn sets the tone and I believe that there is a connection to Winter with characters. It’s not obvious. There is only one or two little clues but I think in the end the reading experience will be better if you read them in order.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛