Here she is again, in all her glory. Zadie Smith turns our attention in Swing Time to two girls growing up in a poor neighborhood in London, keepers of each other as much as they are their own selves. Inseparable in childhood, a shared dream to become dancers sets a foundation for their respective journeys, Tracey to live out exactly that, and our unnamed narrator to study its different threads– rhythm, song, blackness, and the meaning behind it all. As adult realities weigh in, the two spin apart. Our narrator is increasingly swept up in her new life as assistant to a famous music star, and moments with Tracey come less and less. But rather than fading from focus, she haunts our periphery until she's re-affirmed her place in our world. This book captures the magic that so often exists within female friendships without romanticizing it, and so just as we see their relationship for the well of strength that it is, we're also made to understand its capacity for violence. With the hard-hitting insights we've come to expect, Zadie Smith explores the making of a self, and reminds us that roots will never disappear.— Caroline Froh
December 2016 Indie Next List
“In her gracefully written new work, the author of NW and White Teeth addresses the frustrations of family relations, the complications of race, the tyranny of celebrity, and the travesty of cultural appropriation. Smith looks at the fragile threads that tie friends together and how easily they can snap, and her prose flows without effort, granting even the most flawed characters --and there are many -- a modicum of redemption.”
— Peggy Latkovich (E), Mac's Backs Paperbacks, Cleveland Heights, OH
A New York Times bestseller
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty
Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.
Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.
But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey--the same twists, the same shakes--and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.
About the Author
Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and NW, as well as a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. Swing Time is her fifth novel.