Autumn is surely the first novel about Brexit, but don’t let that put you off. It’s also a wonderful celebration of friendship, art and everything that matters: loyalty, kindness, the beauty of nature and the lifelong solace of reading. It’s a book that could be claimed by any number of interested parties, from gerontophiles to feminist art historians to civil liberties groups to fans of daytime television’s Bargain Hunt. Jews, refugees, lesbians, the disenfranchised middle-aged, the lonely and the forgotten could all find cause to think the book is about them. I myself propose that the real subject of Autumn is the inestimable value of storytelling; but then I’m a novelist, so I would. This really can be all things to all men.
The story takes place between the months of June and November of this year, though we never learn precisely where. Everywhere are signs and rumbles of discontent. That there is something deeply wrong with Britain is represented, here, by pointless bureaucracy. The novel’s protagonist, Elisabeth, has her path