01 July, 2013
NW by Zadie Smith [Emma, Birkenhead Library]
Leah - Yellow; Madonna, Culture Club, Thompson Twins; Harrison Ford; E.T.
Leah and Keisha (Natalie) and Felix and Nathan. Went to the same school, live in the same area, grew up in the same estate. Don't all know each other, though Leah and Keisha were best friends since age 4. I have not ever been to NW London. But I reckon if I go there now I'd feel like I had. The sense of the place pervades this story.
The novel is in four sections which feature in order; Leah, Felix, Keisha/Natalie and Nathan. So we get a chance to hear what makes each person tick. Characters are strong, but story is also strong. The tragedy that is central to this novel involves you deeply in the characters lives.
I related strongly to the girls, and understood the boys. Why?..... It is because Smith taps into some universal experiences - and her references to the small things we do may surprise and delight you. On a grander scale there is the growing up and growing older thing, how we change and what we hold on to: falling off, falling on, and - growing more together, or not. The way we really all just continually muddle along.
It was funny, it was sad, it was tragic, it was smart and it was my best book in ages. Each time I put it down, I looked forward to when I'd next get to read.
Off to read Zadie Smith's White Teeth next. I hear that's a good one too.
Author: Zadie Smith
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
- Emma, Birkenhead Library