Viewport width =
May 22, 2017 | by  | in Books |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Swing Time — Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith was one of those authors who I’d heard of and completely dismissed because she sounded like another postmodern, over-praised, elitist circler of the prize-winning circuit. This was based on mainly the fact that she was a contemporary writer, and the design of her book covers. I’m a fickle, snobbish reader. Books are where I feel at ease, and therefore most comfortably judgemental. And I can’t stand narratives about contemporary adults making dumb decisions in their hollow suburban lives and then waxing clichés about it. So gross.

But then, as happens shamefully often, I opened one of her books one day at the library and read a page, and I thought to myself, oh. Darn it. I like her.

She’s smart. She’s self-aware. And she has arguments to make, which I can respect.

Swing Time is the interwoven story of two mixed-race women who meet as children in a dance class in London in the early ’80s. Their respective contexts are at a stark contrast; one intellectual and upper class, the other looked down on as low rent. But their mutual love of dance and their shared identity as children from two cultures ties their lives together. The narrative jumps back and forth over the following decades as their paths diverge and converge, as one travels across continents and the other is stuck at home with a growing family, as one touches the edges of fame and the other digs into bitterness and self-destruction.

Smith seems to be searching for something concrete. For answers to questions she’s had bubbling inside for years. Through her writing she is working out her demons, and while she’s not her characters, she can’t help but speak through them. If you feel this search too, you might find yourself echoed in her words.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent posts

  1. Losing Metiria
  2. Blind Spot
  3. Aspie on Campus
  4. Issue 17
  5. Australian Sexual Assault Report Released
  6. The Swimmer
  7. European Students Association Re-emerges
  8. Can of Worms!
  9. A Monster Calls — J. A. Bayona
  10. Snapchat is a Girl’s Best Friend and Other Shit Chat
LOCKED-OUT

Editor's Pick

Locked Out

: - SPONSORED - The first prisons in New Zealand were established in the 1840s, and there are now 18 prisons nationwide.¹ According to the Department of Corrections, the prison population was 10,035 in March — of which, 50.9% are Māori, 32.0% are Pākehā, 11.0% are Pasifika, a