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More of My Enthusiasm for Zadie Smith's NW

posted Sep 11, 2012, 7:27 PM by Holloway McCandless   [ updated Sep 12, 2012, 8:05 AM ]

I read Zadie Smith's NW about a month ago and my admiration for it has only strengthened in retrospect. Though it's not a perfect novel* it is very, very good at using idiosyncratic-yet-accessible language to represent modern dilemmas of identity. I wish Smith could write faster (it's been seven years since On Beauty) because I can't wait to read what she writes next.

NW shows how singular Smith's style is--singular in the way the style of a Wes Anderson film is singular, only 1000 times less twee--yet it's not show-offy. It's as if she's really writing for the reader, not for her ego, though she's so smart her intelligence gets embedded in the prose as a sort of lit-ego. 

Because just writing a review of NW for Shelf Awareness wasn't enough, I've been listening to a bunch of Zadie Smith podcasts, and I finally found the best one at Nikesh Shukla's Subaltern podcast. I reviewed it over at Litagogo with links for the web and iTunes. If you're remotely a fan of Smith's, you should go listen to it. I'm going to subscribe to Shukla's podcast, too, because his line-up looks great and because he coined the expression "podamuse bouche." 

*NW does have a perfect middle--the Felix section--which I'm going to re-read as soon as I get caught up on my deadlines oh yeah.

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