Zadie Smith

Hamish Hamilton

REVIEW BY: Andries Samuel

Four characters thread their way through time and north-west London, each embodied on the page via a different technique – sometimes feeling like nothing so much as the author’s own stream of consciousness about creating the story. This book was reviewed from an advance copy that hadn’t been finally edited and had typos in it. Interestingly, this added to the already disconcerting feel of the narratives in the novel: lives made on the run, and living at the loss of being a clearly defined person, becomes overpowering and chilling. The humanity of the characters are reduced to the two-letter code that defines their geographical location, and as they find their way, N-W is not a weight, but a blade and a cypher. Compelling.

This review first appeared in the Cape Times in October 2012


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