NW, Three Ways of the Saw

From Mr. Bookdwarf:

I’m loving Three Ways of the Saw. It reminds me of the Denis Johnson short stories in the way it evokes a sort of fractured intensity of emotion.

Is there a better observer of English life than Zadie Smith? I suppose Phillip Hensher would be the other contender, although books like King of the Badgers illustrate a totally different England.

I also suppose I can’t really be a judge of authenticity. I haven’t organized an orgy in a gossipy seaside town, or been a poor teenage girl struggling to find my way in Northwest London. I don’t know if Hensher or Smith are truly accurate. But they certainly feel real.

I read an excerpt of NW in the New Yorker and loved it, and then tried to read the whole novel, but it just seemed so unutterably sad, and the characters so full of misgivings about themselves, that I had to stop. Beautifully rendered, realistic, heartbreaking sadness. I’m not… I just couldn’t do it.

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