Zadie Smith Book Series

White TeethBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Smith's debut has been described as "precocious," and our volunteer readers eagerly anticipated the arrival of our reader's copies of this work. In fact, we had planned to highlight this amazing stew of a novel last season. But once we determined its May publication date, we decided that rather than promote a title a month in advance of its publication and frustrate readers who'd have to wait, we'd do so in July with our summer selections. One thing is clear: our claim of Zadie Smith as a "great new writer" is no longer a solo voice-she's since been mentioned in the same breath as Dickens and Rushdie, Proust, Hemingway and Forster (as in E.M.)! In this remarkable novel set in postwar London, 24-year-old Smith has cleverly created an unlikely friendship between Archie Jones, a simple working-class Brit, and Samad Iqbal, a Muslim Bengali waiter in an Indian restaurant, who meet in the English army in WWII. After the war, the two commiserate over their lives and those of their children; their dreams, disappointments and expectations unfolding with riotous humor as the characters in both generations struggle to carve out their own cultural identities. As Samad himself says, " you begin to give up the very idea of belonging. Suddenly, this thing, this belonging, it seems like some long, dirty lie." White Teeth is filled to bursting with all the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of London. Melding races and cultures with a near-perfect ear for dialogue and dialect, and weaving successfully (albeit uproariously) between themes of history, religion, faith and science, Zadie Smith's is a stunning, self-assured debut, and an unforgettable new voice in fiction.
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On BeautyHoward Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering professor at Wellington, a liberal New England arts college. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer resembles the sexy activist she once was. Their three children passionately pursue their own paths: Levi quests after authentic blackness, Zora believes that intellectuals can redeem everybody, and Jerome struggles to be a believer in a family of strict atheists. Faced with the oppressive enthusiasms of his children, Howard feels that the first two acts of his life are over and he has no clear plans for the finale. Or the encore. Then Jerome, Howard's older son, falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing icon Monty Kipps, and the two families find themselves thrown together in a beautiful corner of America, enacting a cultural and personal war against the background of real wars that they barely register. An infidelity, a death, and a legacy set in motion a chain of events that sees all parties forced to examine the unarticulated assumptions which underpin their lives. How do you choose the work on which to spend your life? Why do you love the people you love? Do you really believe what you claim to? And what is the beautiful thing, and how far will you go to get it? Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Zadie Smith's third novel is a brilliant analysis of family life, the institution of marriage, intersections of the personal and political, and an honest look at people's deceptions. It is also, as you might expect, very funny indeed.
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NwOne of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2012 Set in northwest London, Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals—Leah, Natalie, Fox, and Nathan—as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. In private houses and public parks, at work and at play, these Londoners inhabit a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone—familiar to city-dwellers everywhere—NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.
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Feel Free: EssaysSince she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world's preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right. Arranged into five sections - In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free - this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network, and Facebook itself, really about? "It's a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore." Why do we love libraries? "Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay." What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? "So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we'd just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat." Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, such as, Joy, and, Find Your Beach, Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith's own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith.
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The Book of Other PeopleA stellar host of writers explore the cornerstone of fiction writing: character The Book of Other People is about character. Twenty-five or so outstanding writers have been asked by Zadie Smith to make up a fictional character. By any measure, creating character is at the heart of the fictional enterprise, and this book concentrates on writers who share a talent for making something recognizably human out of words (and, in the case of the graphic novelists, pictures). But the purpose of the book is variety: straight "realism"-if such a thing exists-is not the point. There are as many ways to create character as there are writers, and this anthology features a rich assortment of exceptional examples. The writers featured in The Book of Other People include: Aleksandar Hemon Nick Hornby Hari Kunzru Toby Litt David Mitchell George Saunders Colm Tóibín Chris Ware, and more
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Changing My Mind: Occasional EssaysA sparkling collection of Zadie Smith's nonfiction over the past decade. Zadie Smith brings to her essays all of the curiosity, intellectual rigor, and sharp humor that have attracted so many readers to her fiction, and the result is a collection that is nothing short of extraordinary. Split into four sections—"Reading," "Being," "Seeing," and "Feeling"—Changing My Mind invites readers to witness the world from Zadie Smith's unique vantage. Smith casts her acute eye over material both personal and cultural, with wonderfully engaging essays-some published here for the first time-on diverse topics including literature, movies, going to the Oscars, British comedy, family, feminism, Obama, Katharine Hepburn, and Anna Magnani. In her investigations Smith also reveals much of herself. Her literary criticism shares the wealth of her experiences as a reader and exposes the tremendous influence diverse writers—E. M. Forster, Zora Neale Hurston, George Eliot, and others—have had on her writing life and her self-understanding. Smith also speaks directly to writers as a craftsman, offering precious practical lessons on process. Here and throughout, readers will learn of the wide-ranging experiences—in novels, travel, philosophy, politics, and beyond—that have nourished Smith's rich life of the mind. Her probing analysis offers tremendous food for thought, encouraging readers to attend to the slippery questions of identity, art, love, and vocation that so often go neglected. Changing My Mind announces Zadie Smith as one of our most important contemporary essayists, a writer with the rare ability to turn the world on its side with both fact and fiction. Changing My Mind is a gift to readers, writers, and all who want to look at life more expansively.
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Swing TimeTwo brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
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N.W.Twenty-first century London: rich and poor, black and white, joyful and melancholy, boring and deviant—occasionally lethal. Somewhere in the northwest of the city stands the Caldwell housing estate, a relic of '70s urban planning. Leah, an administrator for the lottery, grew up there. So did her best friend, Natalie, now a barrister, and Felix, an MG car mechanic. Thirty years later these Caldwell kids and their partners live only a few streets apart, yet inhabit separate worlds. Until the day a desperate local woman comes to Leah's door seeking help—and forces Leah out of her isolation. But is Shar a stranger or a friend? Sincere or a fraud? A connection to the past or a threat to the future? From private dinner tables to public parks, at work and at play, in this delicate but devastating novel of encounters Zadie Smith's Londoners find themselves navigating an increasingly atomized society. For some the city remains a place of happy accidents and chance good...
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The Embassy of CambodiaRevisiting the terrain of her acclaimed novel NW, The Embassy of Cambodia is another remarkable work of fiction from Zadie Smith. 'The fact is, if we followed the history of every little country in the world -- in its dramatic as well as its quiet times -- we would have no space left in which to live our own lives or apply ourselves to our necessary tasks, never mind indulge in occasional pleasures, like swimming . . . ' First published in the New Yorker, The Embassy of Cambodia is a rare and brilliant story that takes us deep into the life of a young woman, Fatou, domestic servant to the Derawals and escapee from one set of hardships to another. Beginning and ending outside the Embassy of Cambodia, which happens to be located in Willesden, north-west London, Zadie Smith's absorbing, moving and wryly observed story suggests how the apparently small things in an ordinary life always raise larger, more extraordinary questions. 'Its range is lightly immense... a fiction of consequences both global and heart-rendingly intimate' Guardian 'Smith serves up a smasher' Independent Playful... unexpected and absolutely right... Skips to a beat all of its own' Times Praise for NW: 'A triumph . . .modern London is explored in a dazzling portrait . . . every sentence sings' Guardian 'Intensely funny, richly varied, always unexpected. A joyous, optimistic, angry masterpiece. No better English novel will be published this year' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph 'Absolutely brilliant . . . So electrically authentic, it reads like surveillance transcripts' Lev Grossman, TIME
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The Autograph ManAlex-Li Tandem sells autographs. His business is to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell them, and occasionally fake them—all to give the people what they want: a little piece of Fame. But what does Alex want? Only the return of his father, the end of religion, something for his headache, three different girls, infinite grace, and the rare autograph of forties movie actress Kitty Alexander. With fries. The Autograph Man is a deeply funny existential tour around the hollow trappings of modernity: celebrity, cinema, and the ugly triumph of symbol over experience. It offers further proof that Zadie Smith is one of the most staggeringly talented writers of her generation. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Grand UnionA dazzling collection of short fictionZadie Smith has established herself as one of the most iconic, critically respected, and popular writers of her generation. In her first short story collection, she combines her power of observation and her inimitable voice to mine the fraught and complex experience of life in the modern world. Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from The New Yorker and elsewhere, Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. Moving exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives, from the historic to the vividly current to the slyly dystopian, Grand Union is a sharply alert and prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, the persistent legacies that haunt our present selves and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us. Nothing is off limits, and everything—when captured by Smith's brilliant gaze—feels fresh and...
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N.W.Twenty-first century London: rich and poor, black and white, joyful and melancholy, boring and deviant—occasionally lethal. Somewhere in the northwest of the city stands the Caldwell housing estate, a relic of '70s urban planning. Leah, an administrator for the lottery, grew up there. So did her best friend, Natalie, now a barrister, and Felix, an MG car mechanic. Thirty years later these Caldwell kids and their partners live only a few streets apart, yet inhabit separate worlds. Until the day a desperate local woman comes to Leah's door seeking help—and forces Leah out of her isolation. But is Shar a stranger or a friend? Sincere or a fraud? A connection to the past or a threat to the future? From private dinner tables to public parks, at work and at play, in this delicate but devastating novel of encounters Zadie Smith's Londoners find themselves navigating an increasingly atomized society. For some the city remains a place of happy accidents and chance good...
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Feel FreeFrom Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world's preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.Arranged into five sections—In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free—this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network—and Facebook itself—really about? "It's a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore." Why do we love libraries? "Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library...
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NW: A Novel“A boldly Joycean appropriation, fortunately not so difficult of entry as its great model… Like Zadie Smith’s much-acclaimed predecessor White Teeth (2000), NW is an urban epic.” --Joyce Carol Oates, *The New York Review of Books*This is the story of a city.The northwest corner of a city. Here you’ll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all.  And many people in between.Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds.And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell’s door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation…Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan – as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.Depicting the modern urban zone – familiar to town-dwellers everywhere – Zadie Smith’s NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.Amazon.com ReviewAmazon Best Books of the Month, September 2012: Zadie Smith's NW, an ode to the neighborhoods of northwest London where the author came of age, feels like a work in progress. For most writers, that would be a detriment. But in this case, the sense of imperfection feels like a privilege: a peek inside the fascinating brain of one of the most interesting writers of her generation. Smith (White Teeth, On Beauty) plays extensively with form and style--moving from screenplay-like dialogue to extremely short stories, from the first person to the third--but her characters don't matter as much as their setting. Smith is a master of literary cinematography. It's easy to picture her creations, flaws ablaze, as they walk the streets of London. --Alexandra FosterReview"This is a book in which you never know how things will come together or what will happen next... NW represents a deliberate undoing; an unpacking of Smith’s abundant narrative gifts to find a deeper truth, audacious and painful as that truth may be. The result is that rare thing, a book that is radical and passionate and real."—Anne Enright, The New York Times Book Review"A boldly Joycean appropriation, fortunately not so difficult of entry as its great model... Like Zadie Smith’s much-acclaimed predecessor White Teeth (2000), NW is an urban epic."—Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books"Absolutely brilliant... So electrically authentic, it reads like surveillance transcripts."—Lev Grossman, TIME"Endlessly fascinating... remarkable. ...The impression of Smith's casual brilliance is what constantly surprises, the way she tosses off insights about parenting and work that you've felt in some nebulous way but never been able to articulate."—Ron Charles, The Washington Post"Innovative and moving... This is a rich novel, as crammed with voices and layered with history and pop culture as is London itself. Smith’s flair for dialogue reaches a new height in NW, as she conveys the rhythms and diction of a variety of Londoners with wit and acuity. The story of what happens inside a person when she rises above the situation she was born into was of interest to Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, among countless other novelists. Zadie Smith has delivered her contribution to this literary tradition with aplomb."—*Dallas Morning News"Smith has never been a writer who travels directly from A to B... Smith is not interested in exploring the unbroken line of cause and effect. What NW does offer, in abundance, is the sense of being plunged with great immediacy into the lives of these characters and their neighborhood. How wonderful to have a new version of London to explore."—Boston Globe"If our everyday world suddenly turns dark, zany and lyrically weird one day, it's probably because Zadie Smith has learned how to control us all. In NW, Ms. Smith takes her courageous forays into the vernacular to new heights, using perspectives that are perhaps more native to her but in a form that feels brand new."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette"Zadie Smith is not merely one of Britain's finest younger writers, but also one of the English-speaking world's best chroniclers of race, class, and identity in urban confines. Smith remains fearless, and there are moments that astonish. Her ambition and talent continue to awe."—Philadelphia Inquirer"[NW is] a real sign of how Smith has developed and grown. It is a terrific novel: deeply ambitious, an attempt to use literature as a kind of excavation, while at the same time remaining intensely readable, intensely human, a portrait of the way we live."—Los Angeles Times *"A marvelously accomplished work, perhaps her most polished yet."—Laura Miller, Salon"A triumph... As Smith threads together her characters' inner and outer worlds, every sentence sings."—The Guardian"Smith's fiction has never been this deadly, direct, or economical... Where gifts are concerned, Smith is generous with hers; she writes, one feels, with our pleasure in mind... NW is Zadie Smith’s riskiest, meanest, most political and deeply felt book--but it all feels so effortless. She dazzles."—Parul Sehgal, Bookforum"NW offers a nuanced, disturbing exploration of the boundaries, some porous, some impenetrable, between people living cheek by jowl in urban centers where the widening gap between haves and have-nots has created chasms into which we're all in danger of falling."—NPR.org"A powerful portrait of class and identity in multicultural London. "—Entertainment Weekly"One of the most interesting portrayals of 30- something womanhood that I've come across in a long time. For other readers, Smith's brilliant eye and idiosyncratic ear should be ample enticement."—Bloomberg News"A master class in freestyle fiction writing. Smith mashes up voices and vignettes, poetry and instant messaging, bedroom preferences and murder, and keeps it all from collapsing into incoherent mush with deft, dry wit. Smith defines characters worth reading."—Newsday"In NW, Smith offers a robust novel bursting with life: a timely exploration of money, morals, class and authenticity that asks if we are ever truly the sole authors of our own fate."—BookPage(Praise )
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