Pantheon. Aug. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781101870792. $27.95. f ;.
In this final entry in the four-time Man Booker short-listed Smith’s “Seasonal Quartet,” a nasty practical joke involving an hourglass and some crazy glue applied by a bratty brother to his sister’s hand leads to a chance encounter with the couple who come to her rescue. On their way to deliver a piece of sculpture to Daniel Gluck, the urbane European last seen languishing in a nursing home in Smith’s Autumn, the couple end up inviting brother, sister, and their eccentric mother along on their trip to Suffolk. Daniel, now 104, has been moved into his neighbor’s home and mentally drifts between the present and his wartime internment as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man. A number of other characters from the previous three seasonal titles turn up again, as preoccupied as they were with climate catastrophe, the refugee crisis and Brexit fallout.
VERDICT Set partly in the astonishing Coronavirus/George Floyd present and partly in the World War I era of Resistance France and prison-camp England, Smith’s latest is suffused with the warmth of a more hopeful future and brings her quartet to a satisfying conclusion.
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