One of the most noticeable and effective stylistic devices Ali Smith uses can be seen when she’s writing dialogue. She simplifies her writing in such a way – 1) by not using punctuation to distract the eye, and 2) by not using ‘judgemental’ adjectives to ‘steer’ the reader (i.e. there’s no “she said angrily“, or “he said haughtily” – that forces you to focus on the words, what was actually said, and to interpret it in a much more comprehensive way. I found it a little disconcerting at first, but I think it works.

“Winter” is not, in my opinion, quite as good as “Autumn”, yet it’s still a telling and – on one level – quite profound piece of writing.

[Note: I’m now going to try a little re-reading; some ‘blasts from the past’; a few classics that I haven’t read for years. I’ve steered clear of re-reading, always inclined to seek out new things. It will be interesting to see how I feel about the exercise. Going to start on really safe ground, William Golding…]

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