Winter Summary
Ali Smith

Everything you need to understand or teach Winter by Ali Smith.

  • Winter Summary & Study Guide

Winter Overview

Ali Smith’s Winter takes place over the course of one “bright sunny post-millennial global-warming Christmas” (5), but it simultaneously follows the development of the central Cleves family from the aftermath of the Second World War to the present day. The Cleves are a complex little clan. Once a successful businesswoman but now in her 70s and penniless, Sophia has started hallucinating the head of a child following her around her huge, empty house. Her estranged older sister Iris, meanwhile, has yet to settle down after a long career as a political protestor. Sophia’s son Art, a disenchanted nature blogger, is having his own crisis as he attempts to find meaning in the wake of a painful breakup. Christmas is looking dire until Art shows up with an unusual young woman named Lux who challenges the family to look at each other with new eyes. Winter is an experimental modern folktale that tackles themes of memory, art, nature, politics, and empathy.

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