A review of Autumn , by Melissa Harrison
Like the editor of his book, I have always loved Autumn. Justin Hayward’s mournful song was often on my teenage playlist, and the love affair with the season has not ended. I love the changing colours, the sense of the earth ‘settling down’ for Winter and the softness of mist hugging the world. There are writers in this book far better able to describe all that than I – such as Louise Baker with her description of Autumn as:
Autumn is bold bursts of colour that leap from every corner of the landscape; it is golden yellow, fiery red, bright orange and rich chocolate brown.
See what I mean?
Maybe that kind of writing is inevitable in such a collection, though. What I appreciate about the editing of this book is the inclusion of more surprising entries. There is the writer who describes the world of small invertebrates partying beneath a rotting log – and another who recounts a sorrowful encounter with the predator who was stealing her chickens. We meet a lonely writer who finds friendship through volunteering at a nature reserve, and join in with an apple harvest in all its autumnal glory. I read the last chapters of this book in a tiny Welsh cottage with rain battering the window and I could not have been cosier.
In years to come, I have a feeling that Melissa Harrison will be responsible for the introduction of a whole new cohort of gifted writers to the English language. In collections such as this we shall encounter them first – and then go looking for them in the wide world, like a squirrel seeking out the shiniest acorn for his hoard.