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Swing Time

Category: Book
By (author): Smith, Zadie
Subject:  FICTION / Coming of Age
  FICTION / Contemporary Women
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
Awards: National Book Critics Circle Awards (2016) Short-listed
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Published: September 2017
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 416
Size: 8.25in x 5.25in
Our Price:
$ 22.00
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*New York Times bestseller 
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
Finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize for Fiction

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from northwest 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, about 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.
     Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

One of the NP99: National Post's best books of 2016

"This is a story at once intimate and global, as much about childhood friendship as international aid, as fascinated by the fate of an unemployed single mother as it is by the omnipotence of a world-class singer…Smith's attention to the grace notes of friendship is as precise as ever…Swing Time uses its extraordinary breadth and its syncopated structure to turn the issues of race and class in every direction…We finally have a big social novel nimble enough to keep all its diverse parts moving gracefully toward a vision of what really matters in this life when the music stops."-Washington Post
"Smith's most affecting novel in a decade, one that brings a piercing focus to her favorite theme: the struggle to weave disparate threads of experience into a coherent story of a self…As the book progresses, she interleaves chapters set in the present with ones that deal with memories of college, of home, of Tracey. It is a graceful technique, this metronomic swinging back and forth in time…The novel's structure feels true to the effect of memory, the way we use the past as ballast for the present. And it feels true, too, to the mutable structure of identity, that complex, composite ‘we,' liable to shift and break and reshape itself as we recall certain pieces of our earlier lives and suppress others."-The New Yorker
"Wise and illuminating…Smith is a master stylist, delivering revelatory sentences in prose that never once veers into showiness…The gifted observer narrating Swing Time turns her incisive attention to wide-ranging targets, from white volunteerism in Africa to children's tendency to lie to their parents to protect them from uncomfortable truths. Through it all, a portrait emerges of an inveterate outsider who time and again attaches herself to shining stars, while always walling off her own true self."-USA Today
"[Swing Time] makes a remarkable leap in technique. Smith has become increasingly adept at combining social comedy and more existential concerns-manners and morals-through the flexibility of her voice, layering irony on feeling and vice versa. In a culture that often reduces identity politics to a kind of personal branding, Smith works the same questions into a far deeper (and more truly political) consideration of what it takes to form a self…Swing Time's great achievement is its full-throated and embodied account of the tension between personal potential and what is actually possible."-The New Republic
"Smith's thrilling cultural insights never overshadow the wholeness of her characters, who are so keenly observed that one feels witness to their lives."-O, The Oprah Magazine
"Not just a friendship but our whole mad, unjust world comes under Smith's beautifully precise scrutiny."-New York Magazine
"Zadie Smith constantly amazes us with the dexterity of her voice-or better yet, voices…In her latest offering, Smith returns to North West London with new characters and an uncanny ability to explore the complex nature of racism and its impact on individuals and the community."-Essence
"I can't deny the spell cast by Swing Time, Zadie Smith's latest. I can't hold back from declaring it first a career peak, one she'll be hard-pressed to top, and beyond that a steep challenge for any novelist out there. Smith might well have left a whole host of her contemporaries cold-cocked…If anyone's delivering reliable intel from the frontiers of the 21st century cosmopolis, it's Zadie Smith."-Brooklyn Rail
"A preternaturally gifted writer with a voice that's street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time."-The New York Times

"[Smith] packs more intelligence, humour and sheer energy into any given scene than anyone else of her generation."-Sunday Telegraph

"An outstanding novelist with a powerful understanding both of what the brain knows and of what love knows."-Observer

"It doesn't seem to matter what she's writing about--Kafka, her father, Liberia, George Clooney. Just placing anything within the magnetic field of her restlessly intelligent brain is enough to make it fascinating." -Time
"Known for her warmth on the page, Smith is fresh and fierce with this nuanced story of female friendship…Swing Time is an energetic and enigmatic examination of race, class and pop culture." -Toronto Life

Biographical NoteZADIE SMITH is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and NW, as well as The Embassy of Cambodia and a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has twice been listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists. She has won the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Guardian First Book Award among many others, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Prize. Zadie Smith lives in London and New York with her husband and two children. Swing Time is her fifth novel. The author lives in London, England and New York, NY.