Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: "NW" by Zadie Smith

I don’t know what it is about British writers attempting post-modern novels and always failing, but they really do not have the technique down very well. I am not a very big fan of the genre itself for the most part, with House of Leaves and Infinite Jest being the two high points for me, but even with the most vague form of an idea in an American post-modern novel is at least cohesive or have a noticeable trajectory. But with books by Ali Smith and this one, NW by Zadie Smith, there seems to be only random thoughts and ideas put down on the page without any kind of path to follow. But while Ali Smith’s Hotel World was not very fun to read, NW is at least that. Granted I find it rather pretentious in its subject matter, something Hotel World admirably wasn’t, this is a quick read, despite the 400-page length, even if it doesn’t have much of a story. What little story concerns a day in the life of Leah, a white woman married to an African hairdresser, who allows a woman into her house who cheats her out of her money. Her husband scolds her for not being more vigilant, since she is very much a person who sees time more slowly. The later sections deal with other people who inhabit this upscale loft in London, from the past Leah shares with another character Natalie, as well as a guy named Felix, who is concerned about his race. It is hard to grasp hard details of this book because it is written in that awful style that seems like second rate Martin Amis, who is, I would argue, already second rate. But like I said, despite that giant flaw, it is sometimes fun, even though you may not know what is really going on. But it is a quick read that some could finish in a day, if you really, really like it.
Rating: 3/5

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