NW by Zadie Smith

Bookseller confession time–up until now, I have never read any of Zadie Smith’s novels. I really like her essays but just haven’t gotten to White Teeth or the rest. When an ARC of her forthcoming book NW showed up, I grabbed it.

The novel focuses on a housing estate in northwest London. It’s split into different sections with different narrators for each and different styles. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the book but by the second section however, I was hooked. You’re following these characters and their messed up lives, trying to will them to not make these mistakes but they make them anyway because they feel trapped or broken or just don’t know what to do. This is a really strong novel, one that makes me think I’ve been missing out by not having read her other books, something I hope to remedy soon.

Note: There’s a long piece of the novel in the July 23rd issue of the New Yorker. Here’s an interview with Zadie Smith about it.

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