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Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Second Novel Anxiety Syndrome, 22 August 2002

... second novels due in the autumn are Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend and The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith. Tartt’s first book, The Secret History, came out in 1992. The tale of a bacchanal at an elite New England college that goes murderously wrong, or rather murderously right, and has yet more murderous consequences, it sold wildly ...

Sheer Enthusiasm

Thomas Chatterton Williams: Zadie Smith, 30 August 2018

Feel Free: Essays 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £20, February 2018, 978 0 241 14689 7
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... attention to the world.’ The rest is mere form. This thought seems fundamental to Feel Free, Zadie Smith’s latest collection of essays, profiles and reviews. Still, Smith has Sontag’s insecurity in reverse, admitting in the foreword to her own anxiety: ‘I have no real qualifications to write as I do. Not a ...

Willesden Fast-Forward

Daniel Soar: Zadie Smith, 21 September 2000

White Teeth 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £12.99, January 2000, 9780241139974
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... label of NW2; there are houses that go for £800,000. It’s where White Teeth is set. Zadie Smith won a kind of lottery: £250,000 in a two-book deal, and there’s a £5 million BBC adaptation on the way. She was one of the deserving – just a step away from the prize-winning bus-driver novelist – only ...


Joanna Biggs: Zadie Smith, 1 December 2016

Swing Time 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 453 pp., £18.99, November 2016, 978 0 241 14415 2
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... The ends​ of great fiction do not change, much,’ Zadie Smith wrote eight years ago in an essay about David Foster Wallace. ‘But the means do.’ She was between novels: three years had passed since her most traditional, On Beauty, was published; NW, her most experimental, wouldn’t appear for another four ...

Here she is

Frank Kermode: Zadie Smith, 6 October 2005

On Beauty 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 446 pp., £16.99, September 2005, 0 241 14293 8
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... shadow of the older novel might darken or distort the new one. In the present case it doesn’t. Zadie Smith’s real debt may not lie in her echoes of Howards End, though she does insist on them. Two families of very different temperaments are forced to confront one another when in On Beauty, as in Howards End, a sudden engagement is announced and ...

Crushing the Port Glasses

Colin Burrow: Zadie Smith gets the knives out, 14 December 2023

The Fraud 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £20, September, 978 0 241 33699 1
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... You’ve​ got to love Zadie Smith. When The Fraud arrived I did what no self-respecting reviewer should ever do. I flipped the book open and peeked at a random chapter. I know, I know. Never peek. It can spoil Christmas. But sometimes it’s just too tempting, and sometimes knowing what’s under the wrapping paper can make it even more fun to tear it off when the big day comes ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Nephews and Daughters, 23 January 2003

... novel is yet to be published, but who, more importantly, is the only one on the list apart from Zadie Smith (27) under 30. None of them is younger than 20, which shouldn’t be very surprising. The only teenage candidate I can think of is Anna Stothard (19): Isabel and Rocco, which she wrote when she was 17, will be out in April (Arrow, £6.99). If you ...

Fundamentally Goyish

James Wood: Zadie Smith, 3 October 2002

The Autograph Man 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 420 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 241 13998 8
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... whizz kid with EkaSystems Inc, and earning at least half a million a year . . . Alas, much of Zadie Smith’s second novel reads like this. (It’s better written, but she had two years, and I had two minutes.) White Teeth, for all its many miracles, occasionally revealed a cartoonish energy that at times seemed to amount to a fear of silence, a ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing, 8 March 2001

... 10 – the same words appear in the same order in both poems – was some kind of April Fool. Zadie Smith, who may or may not still count as a new writer (maybe she enjoys the increasingly common distinction of being both new and established simultaneously), hasn’t contributed to New Writing 10; but then she’s been busy editing an anthology of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Unimpressed by good booking men, 24 June 2004

... throwing bad money after good in the hope of finding the ‘new Harry Potter’ or the ‘new Zadie Smith’, the surprise next big thing – Fever Pitch, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Angela’s Ashes, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Longitude, Eats, Shoots and Leaves (none of them a great work of literature, sure, but the issue for the moment is what ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Alternative Weeping, 7 September 2000

... bookshop reading is, of course, the chance to see and hear David Starkey cheek by jowl with Zadie Smith, Roy Strong, Terry Jones, Michael Holroyd and all the other writers showcasing their various talents this year. Such events certainly seem to be increasing rapidly in number and variety. Cheltenham and Hay-on-Wye (Tony Benn: ‘In my mind, it has ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Literary Prizes, 10 May 2001

... by a public vote, as an allegedly democratic gesture against the elitism of literary prizes. Zadie Smith won in the New Talent category; Jamie Oliver was best for Home and Leisure and Simon Schama for General Knowledge; J.K. Rowling wrote the best children’s book and Maeve Binchy’s Scarlet Feather won the Fiction Award. These results, of ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... women? Jeanette Winterson, not exactly unfamous, isn’t featured; nor is Hilary Mantel; though Zadie Smith inevitably is. Most published works of fiction are not particularly good, as has surely always been the case (and the situation must seem worse now, whenever now is, because the mediocrities of the past are soon remaindered and forgotten). But ...

Flavourless Bacon

Irina Dumitrescu: The Wife of Bath, 10 August 2023

The Wife of Bath: A Biography 
by Marion Turner.
Princeton, 320 pp., £20, January, 978 0 691 20601 1
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The Wife of Willesden 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 109 pp., £7.99, November 2021, 978 0 241 47196 8
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The Good Wife of Bath 
by Karen Brooks.
William Morrow, 541 pp., £9.99, March 2022, 978 0 06 314283 1
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... rebranded it The Canterbury Pilgrims.Two new versions​ of ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’, by Zadie Smith and the Australian novelist Karen Brooks, show contemporary writers continuing to adapt Alysoun’s story. The Wife of Willesden, Smith’s first play, had its premiere at Kilburn’s Kiln Theatre in 2021. In ...

At White Cube

Nick Richardson: Christian Marclay, 19 March 2015

... a film that can be shown over 24 hours with the times onscreen corresponding to the actual time. Zadie Smith called The Clock ‘neither bad nor good but sublime’, and it is, both for the staggering amount of work that went into gathering and trimming the footage, and for the way it subsumes the whole history of cinema into the telling of the ...

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