Monday, 2 June 2014


NW by Zadie Smith

Not quite sure what to make of this book. I was looking forward to it for so long and ever since I got in in a buy one, get one half price with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah I'd been waiting for my Norfolk holiday so I could give it my full, uninterrupted attention.

I am a big Zadie Smith fan - both White Teeth and On Beauty were for me the kind of book you don't want to put down, and end up wondering along the road reading, bumping into pedestrians/lampposts/dogs etc. This one made a promising start and sucked me in straight away, but then I felt it meandered off slightly. I did read it fairly intensively over the course of a couple of days and didn't find that a chore at all, but I wonder if I had take a slower approach whether I would have lost interest somewhat.

I really liked the characters and as usual in a Zadie Smith novel they are so believable, it's as if you are reading about real people. I engaged with all of them but for me the underlying connections between them didn't feel strong enough, and each individual story felt disconnected and a little disparate. Perhaps the patchwork of different, and sometimes clashing personalities is the aim, given that it's a novel in which an area of London, rather than a person, is really the star. But I don't know that it made for the most satisfying read.

Still, I enjoyed it a fair bit and would recommend it, but maybe not to a first-time Zadie Smith reader.

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