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Wide-ranging and experimental, ‘Summer’ has been dubbed ‘the pandemic novel’

summer ali smith

‘Summer’ by Ali Smith, Pantheon, 2020, 385 pages, $27.95

“Summer” brings Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet, begun in 2017, to a close. The Quartet is her literary attempt to publish one novel per year as close as possible to the real events each includes. (This closing volume has already been termed “the pandemic novel” by many critics.) 

The new book works very well as a stand-alone experience, but it will certainly seem all the richer to anyone who has previous experience with the other three novels, hopefully having read them in order of publication, beginning with “Autumn.”