NW Set in northwest London Zadie Smith s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals Leah Natalie Felix and Nathan as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell the council estate of their

Set in northwest London, Zadie Smith s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals Leah, Natalie, Felix, 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 theSet in northwest London, Zadie Smith s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals Leah, Natalie, Felix, 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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    213 Zadie Smith

  1. Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and NW, as well as a collection of essays, Changing My Mind Swing Time is her fifth novel.Visit zadiesmith for information.

914 Reply to “NW”

  1. So uhmLike seriously This was such a load of dreck I can t even sit here and form coherent thoughts because I m still so bewildered at the mess I just read I guess all I can do is take a page out of the book and write the review by section and sub heading because I m really struggling to string words together that can represent my utter confusion and disgust Here goes nothingVisitation Part Un I can t believe This was the best section of the book and I really didn t want it to be because it wasn [...]

  2. The iridescent computer screen glows white In the bathroom the faucet spews forth, the bath her child will be coaxed into entering.I don t getI don t get this book Oi Don t even try to parody this style You can t possibly get her dialects right her ear for culture her class symbolism Her pointThe reviewer believes in books that are about something Books that have a main character, a beginning, a middle, an end A story This book has strange chapter headings, she tells her imaginary audience, who [...]

  3. ZADIE SMITH IS IN MY STORE RIGHT NOW i think zadie smith is good at writingr one thing, she has a real flair for location i don t recall having been to northwest london directions are hard but i feel like i can see it, through the eyes of her characterse captures the cadence and speech patterns of a broad swathe of london s immigrant denizens irish, caribbean, caribbean italian, algerian, maybe indian, russian, tempered by the toughness of the council estates, smoothed out by education and desir [...]

  4. For You Jaidee The very first two sentences of the book under the section called Visitation , scared me The fat sun stalls by the phone masts Anti climb paint turns sulphurous on School gates and lampposts The third sentence I was ready to surrender In Willesden people go barefoot, the streets European, there is a mania for eating outside My reading experience continued uphill I stopped worrying if I would get everything Leah s doorbell rings A girl woman named Shar, is screaming and crying and [...]

  5. Zadie Smith captures the essence of the multi racial metropolis within these pages By using a variety of narrative techniques, she demonstrates the randomness of city life and the overlapping nature of everyday experience, and she also shows how varied the voices are within the said city It s a contortion of meaning, life and stories When I began reading this all I could thing about was James Joyce The first section of the book has borrowed many elements fromUlysses and likeDubliners an entire c [...]

  6. Stunningly original, NW is a kaleidoscope of city life and particularly the lives of four people stark, beautiful, chaotic, brutal, electric and intense Very few reviewers have written a construct of the story and neither will I I will say that when I finished reading NW, I was surprised to find myself still in my own living room and not in north west London such is Smith s talent for capturing the reader s imagination Some thoughts and or quotes by the characters are Meanwhile parents have beco [...]

  7. 5 Zadieliciouz gotz the geniuz and the brillianz ztarz 2015 BRONZE AWARD 3rd favorite read This novel was so fresh, so real and so engaging on so many levels The story is about North West London and the lives of four individuals that intersect in various ways Zadie almost broke my partner and I up as I would constantly read him passages from the novel and sigh What a creative and empathic mind could create such a novel He would faux exclaim, Bloody hell Jaidee I m going to read the book soon so [...]

  8. This is the novel I hoped Zadie would write Since On Beauty in 2006, she s been brushing up on the post Eggers American hipster canon, hanging with the Brooklyn crowd, writing dissertations on DFW This structurally inventive, stylistically diverse and playful novel should have set my eyes aflame with love for the precocious stripling who wrote those three unwieldy social satires in her early to late twenties But it didn t Divided into a series of cryptic sections with titles like visitation and [...]

  9. The cover flap copy makes this seem like a playfully pomo tragicomic treatise on contemporary city life but it seemed like a simultaneously straightforward and purposefully skewed narrative exploration of superaccessible topics like long term friendship, fluid identity possibility of , order chaos extremes to which we might alternately lean when there s lack or excess of either , ye olde search for meaning in a world that rarely stays ordered forever All these themes are reflected in the struct [...]

  10. I loved Zadie s first book, White Teeth, which she wrote when she was only 23 years old I may be wrong but I feel that with this book Smith was trying to distance herself from her 23 year old self This book introduces us to several residents of the northwest of London There s Leah who isn t content with her life despite her loving husband who desperately wants to start a family with her There s Felix, a recovering addict who decides he s off the drugs for good and ready to embark on an adult rel [...]

  11. NW came to an end and I sat back in my seat and closed my eyes I could still see images from the movie, long shots the tower blocks of a North West London suburb two figures moving down a long dreary street close ups a pair of ragged red slippers the dirt encrusted fabric of a cheap blue tracksuit, all very vivid How had those images fitted into the story line, I wondered Had there been an actual story line, some unifying thread running through the whole I was confused I shook my head to clear m [...]

  12. There s a fabulous observation early on when Smith identifies swearing as a means often of improving the rhythm of a sentence I d never thought of this before but it s so true Cussing as a tribute to Shakespeare In fact Smith is consistently brilliant at contemporary social observation, at drawing attention to new and revealing speech patterns and behavioural quirks For example here s a piece of social choreography that didn t exist in, say, EM Forster s time To get a laugh Felix high fived Hifa [...]

  13. I ve discussed this before but I truly feel sorry for Zadie Smith She didn t ask to be the most hyped name in contemporary British fiction Yes, we all loved White Teeth, but that novel is coming up on its twentieth anniversary in a couple years and Smith has still yet to match it NW is typical Smith fodder A load of Londoners all grow up together, their lives take separate paths and we follow them as they sit around and talk about how things can never be like they were Actually, now that I think [...]

  14. Sneaky animals Foxes are everywhere If you ask me, they run things I don t know what s wrong with me lately I ve lost all motivation to write up these little book reviews I m just about bored out of my mind watching UFC fights I m not even really sure how I pass the time that I m not at work, I guess reading, but none of that reading is doing much to inspire me to want to write about anything I ve read But it s not that the books I ve been reading are boring me or anything I m enjoying most of t [...]

  15. I m nobody Who are you Are you nobody, too Then there s a pair of us don t tell They d banish us, you know.How dreary to be somebody How public, like a frogTo tell your name the livelong dayTo an admiring bog Zadie Smith s NWhas been compared to lots of different works Mrs Dalloway, Ulysses, Telegraph Ave, even White Teeth, her debut novel It seems to me that nothing comes closer to its essence than these few lines by Emily Dickinson Set in NW London, also the setting for White Teeth, it is prim [...]

  16. A slow burn I took a while to get into it, since NW is self consciously experimental Fifty pages in, and I remember why I love Zadie Smith It is not that she helps my feeble mind recall the 90s when airfare was cheap, globalism was novel, and being in a city with as much diversity and cultural incongruity as possible was the transcosmopolitan goal I was hanging out with this half Jewish Jamaican guy last night He s from Brazil, Sikh by choice, disclaims his birthright, vegan We were smoking and [...]

  17. Umphh Just read the end, put the book down, and I feel fatigued Definitely, this is the triumph of structure over content And not in a good, just on the right line way Content is absolutely smashed to a pulp and disintegrated, by Alexander the Great the Emperor of All Worlds The Structure In fact, I d venture to say that the book is a beautiful empty box The author spent so much time working on the box and the wrapping, that she forgot she actually had a flipping novel to write A story that is w [...]

  18. I am sure that there are those that will disagree with my 2 star rating I was excited to see that Zadie Smith had written a new work of fiction I was towards the beginning of it when Anne Enright s review was published in the Times The review was great, the book, not so much I disliked the characters, their dishonesty and so much Sometimes when reading her writing, it is like being in a dreamlike state, you are not really sure what s going on In a book you can return to the passage, which I oft [...]

  19. I find it odd that anyone can read this book without feeling extraordinarily pleased that someone somewhere is taking the effort to think about this fucked up world in a manner that is both dispassionate and instructive Comparing this book with the rubbish our market obsessed, ie ill informed reader obsessed, publishers and writers are lauding, and which I, in my current position, have to read, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards the author Which I shall express thus thank fuck som [...]

  20. Author Smith says NW is about language, and I agree Language is central to our understanding of the characters, and language defines their lives in many ways I had the good fortune to listen to the audio of this title, brilliantly read by Karen Bryson and Don Gilet Having access to a paper copy at the same time, I feel confident that the spoken version is an aid to clarity and understanding, and there was true enjoyment in hearing the range of vocal virtuosity by both readers I did end up listen [...]

  21. Four characters who all grow up on the same estate in the London borough of Willesden and who, as adults, are all ultimately linked by one event that takes place there Leah and Natalie are best friends with that inevitable period of falling out for a couple of years They are of the same generation as my own daughter so at times I felt like I was given an insight into aspects of her secret life, one or two a little worrying This friendship was movingly detailed To begin with we read about Leah as [...]

  22. Eons ago, in my ante gr days, I picked up Zadie s because Smith is ambiguous, and Ms Smith doesn t work like Ms Young does but I m not really happy either with saying Dorothy Richardson just because that one guy wrote The First Novel knot White Teeth looking for those kinds of novels which came after Infinite Jest I also read Egger s first thing but didn t see my way forward with him Zadie had that zing, that promise thing But beyond her collection of essays it took me many years to return to he [...]

  23. Zadie Smith wrote a masterpiece debut novel when she was under 30, a story that takes place in a Northwest London borough, but the narrative also travels to Jamaica, Turkey, and Bangladesh WHITE TEETH stands out as one of my favorite books of all time While reading, I felt as if I were living with these characters people who struggled with race, identity, assimilation, gender politics, the immigrant experience, and Smith s levity eases the weighty subjects without undermining them, and the spra [...]

  24. I read this book with Rowena so I m writing with the benefit of her illuminating comments You can read her review here.3.5 starsThe book is divided into sections narrated by different characters Our first storyteller is Leah, a young white woman from North West London with Irish parents, married to a black African francophone immigrant, Michel The initial encounter Leah has with a young woman begging for help at her door reveals her generous nature, while the fragmentary style of the writing see [...]

  25. I finished this book than a week ago, but this is the first time I ve been able to make myself sit down and write a review The problem isn t that I ve been trying to decide what I want to talk about, the problem is that I don t really have much to say about this book at all.The story is divided into four mini arcs, all taking place in the same neighborhood in northwest London We start with Leah, a white woman the neighborhood is predominately black, and mostly Caribbean Her section shows us sev [...]

  26. This was one of those books that I wanted to enjoy than I actually did I can t really fault Smith s writing she s very accomplished, and like lots of writers has a real knack for dialogue and choosing those little slice of life scenes that paint a picture of a community But for me, NW wasn t emotionally engaging and I didn t care enough about the characters It wasn t a good story well told, and instead felt like an anthropology thesis showing us various types of people then trying to get benea [...]

  27. At first I thought Zadie Smith was channeling Virginia Woolf in her latest novel, only instead of haute bourgeois characters, she focused on an upwardly mobile working class girl from the projects, who commits the unlikely act of doling out real money to a dirty, hysterical junkie who turns up at her door with an obviously fake story There was something so flaccid and hopeless about Leah Hanwell seen through the lens of her random thoughts and fragmentary observations And Zadie Smith has done th [...]

  28. I opened NW on Friday night and immediately became submerged in this part of London that I ve never been too I closed and finished it late Sunday night My reading was supported by the excellent Penguin audiobook The two first rate audiobook readers added to the tremendous life that Zadie Smith put into writing NW Each accent gave me that perspective I needed to relate to the characters but most of all to give me the right tone The tone that I imagine Zadie Smith was imaging when she wrote NW I f [...]

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