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  • When did we lose our compassion?

    NO SPOILERS I have read the previous three books so was eager to read this final part of Ali Smith’s quartet and oh my, what a finale! Summer is the most “in the moment” of the four, although, this is true for each in its turn; but Summer feels more so. Smith brings together all the characters amid Brexit, refugees, Trump, Covid-19, lockdown, Black Lives Matter and Boris. By writing of past, shameful atrocities, childhoods past and lost, Smith highlights history repeating itself but this time, with less compassion. The parallels should, frankly, shame us all. It is skilfully written and as ever, the dialogue is sharp, snappy and flows naturally. Smith is certainly a superb author; everything about Summer is perfect. However, more than this I am finding difficult to write, perhaps because of the message of the book. I think this quote sums it up for me: “…human beings will always have to decide whether to be poisonous to others or not…” When, as people, did we lose our collective humanity?

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