A sparkling collection of Zadie Smiths nonfiction over the past decade.
Zadie Smith brings to her essays all of the curiosity, intellectual rigor, and sharp humor that have attracted so many readers to her fiction, and the result is a collection that is nothing short of extraordinary.
Split into four sections-Reading, Being, Seeing, and Feeling-Changing My Mind invites readers to witness the world from Zadie Smiths unique vantage. Smith casts her acute eye over material both persorn in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother, Smith grew up in Londons poly-ethnic Willesden Green neighborhood, a backdrop she has mined with great success in stories that parse the immigrant experience and investigate overarching themes of race, class, and intergenerational ties. She attended Kings College in Cambridge, submitted stories to a college anthology, and got noticed by a literary agent who wangled the deal that led to her first novel. Spanning 150 years, mixing Jamaican, English, and Bangladeshi into its characters family trees, and focused on three clans in London, White Teeth garnered lavish praise on its publication in 2000. Notoriously critical New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani called it ...a big, splashy, populous production ... that announces the debut of a preternaturally gifted new writer. The San Francisco Chronicle pronounced it the first great novel of the new century, and Time likened Smith to Margaret Atwood and Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon. In the midst of all the hosannas, though, one negative review stands out. A notice in the literary magazine Butterfly proclaimed: White Teeth is the literary equivalent of a hyperactive, ginger-haired, tap-dancing 10-year-old. The author of this snipe? Zadie Smith, of course! I was very worried that if this book did well or was forced to do well by a lot of hype behind it, that I wouldnt write anything again, she explained to Londons Independent in 2000 Apparently Smith seriously underestimated her accomplishment. White Teeth scooped the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for a several other prestigious literary awards. Moreover, she stared down the dreaded specter of sophomore slump with her second novel, 2002s The Autograph Man, a meditation on her own celebrity that zoomed up the bestseller list, won the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction, and positioned Smith for inclusion in Granta magazines 2003 list of the 20 best young British writers — a roster compiled once every 10 years. Smith continues to forge fiction that gets noticed. In addition, she has edited and written introductions to anthologies that showcase the preeminent writers of her generation.
Good To Know
Smith changed her name from Sadie to Zadie, because it seemed right, exotic, different, she told the Guardian. Smiths third novel, On Beauty takes its title from Elaine Scarrys essay On Beauty and Being Just.