Writing as Fast as Reality

I read the first two novels of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet in Cairo, where long, warm, sunny days make up most of the year. In a city whose pace—a down-tempo lull—gives a sense that time is expanded, Autumn, with its meandering, time-traveling, light-footed story of a friendship between a young girl and an old man, felt exhilarating, deeply touching, even breathtaking. Winter, which is not strictly a sequel except in the seasonal sense and which revolves around a Christmas gathering at a family home in Cornwall, was fraught, overwhelming, dire. Too many people, too many egos, too many ideas, too much tension. “Ghastly” is how I have heard the season, which I have never experienced in its entirety, described—but the word “somewhat” applies to it and the temperament of the novel as well.
More 

Featured Articles




MLK: What We Lost
Figures like Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks have now become “safe” in ways they never were when they were operating at the height of their powers.
The Concrete Jungle
Evolution is still happening, sometimes briskly, and in response to the single greatest agent of environmental change on the planet: us.

Table of contents
The Autocracy App
The growing consensus is that Facebook’s power needs checking. Fewer agree on what its greatest harms are—and still fewer on what to do about them.

Table of contents

Table of contents
Aquarius Rising
Revisiting the religious dimensions of 1960s protest allows for the recovery of a forgotten and necessary part of our past.

Table of contents

Table of contents