“NW” by Zadie Smith was . . . different. Smith’s writing style was unique, and varied depending on what section of the book you are reading.
The book follows three individuals, telling their stories of their lives, woes, and troubles in NW corner of the same city. The stories are separate, but have similar notes in them, and are interconnected in some ways.
But I’m going to be honest, I just didn’t get it fully. I understood each person’s difficulties but not how it was wrapped up together in the end. The ending just left me confused.
So, if you are a super literary type, then you might enjoy the writing style and get more out of the novel than I did. I’ll try to read another Zadie Smith, but I wouldn’t really recommend this tough-to-read novel to the masses.
But while I was seeing if Smith had a website, I found this interesting tidbit: Apparently, Jay-Z bought Zadie Smith a fish sandwich. More here, if you’re interested.
Want a better synopsis? Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
“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.”
What book have you read recently that just left you stumped?