4/24/2019

Spring in Translation



Ali Smith's seasonal quartet is slowly taking full shape. Ideas are fleshed out, twisted and prised wide open. Covers standing vibrant in all their David Hockney gloriousness. 

Spring, the paperback was pressed into my hands. It promised to bring change and contemplation. Renewal and reformation. It is never lost on me that the seasonal quartet will always starkly contradict whatever is reflected season-wise here in New Zealand. I read Winter in the height of Summer, pages warped by the sun, for example. Spring was read in the early stages of Autumn. It will remind me of early mornings on the way to work. The sun beginning to rise and me trying+sometimes failing to keep my eyes open. 

It is a book further considering loss and political climates and art and the 'radiant disruptors' as Olivia Laing so aptly puts it. It pays homage to Katherine Mansfield, the "little savage", Charlie Chaplin, Rilke, Tacita Dean, among others. Florence Welch even receives a subtle nod. Cue me photographing said passage and excitedly sharing it around. 

It makes sense to have read Spring alongside a book about literary translation. Mining texts for meaning, ideas and repeated motifs. Smith's seasonal quartet reflects the seasons in the time we presently live in. They leave us to mull over the here and now but moreover what they represent thematically in Smith's literature. For her characters, real and imagined. Moreover, the seasonal framework naturally wraps itself around the recurring themes and motifs throughout Ali's work.

And maybe unearthing meaning in the pages of my books is the new mood. I will keep you posted.

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