A story about four different people who live and have grown up in North West London. It is a tale about their lives, how they interweave and about the realities of their life.
I had been expecting a lot of this book. Never a good way to begin a read but nonetheless I heard great things about Zadie Smith and this book had been following me around for a very long time. I finally gave in and gave it a read.
Smith has an extremely gritty way of writing, not scruffy or unpolished, rather it is a truthful and honest telling of life. She is an incredibly intelligent writer and has had success that is well deserved.
As for the novel, it read well. The characters were believable, their situations as real as anything. I loved the way that each section had a different style of writing or a different format. It really kept you on your toes. I also loved how the characters interwove. It is really telling that you read one account or one characters story and have that person’s view of another person. Yet when the tables turn, it kind of all becomes uprooted. I found that to be excellent.
The storylines were all so obscure in ways yet believable due to that. There was no true resolution at the end of the novel but I guess that just reflects real life. And that is what I would say this novel does. It reflects true life. It gets into the messy bits and is unapologetic for it.
Personally, I didn’t take to it as fully as most people could and consequently have done. It was a little too depressing for me. It painted life as a constant stream of disappointments and battles. I understand that it is a little like that but I think there needed to be lighter bits in the book to break it up and also to reflect the world as it is. The simple pleasures in life which people are grateful for would have really lifted the book and made it that bit more rounded.
Overall, a good read but not my cup of tea. Would read something by this author again to test whether it is the novel itself or simply her style. Let me know what you think!
NW by Zadie Smith