N-Wby Zadie Smith

I have heard of Zadie Smith and seen her referred to in several articles recently as part of the discussions about the content of the English Literature courses and exams. So, in an effort to understand the educational debates, I decided it was time to give it a go.

Did I enjoy the book? Not sure actually.

Certainly I can see what people will think she is worthy of reading and there is plenty of scope for debate and analysis. 

“N-W” is set in North West London (hence the title) and tells the stories of four old school friends. Through the book we get a glimps into the lives of people growing up on inner London estates and the challenges they face.

The reviews for the book said it was “brilliant” and “intensely funny”. Personally I found it interesting, challenging and at time difficult to follow. 

Zadie Smith tells each of the four tales in different styles, something which can work (see my previous review of “It’s a kind of Magic”), but in this case I just found confusing. The staccato phrasing, the way dialogue and narration often ran into each other with no punctuation I found irritating. 

Whilst I can see the literary merit, and how the story may be seen as “relevant” I don’t think I will be rushing out to buy another.