Swinging London and beyond

25 11 2017

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, black bodies and black music, what it means to belong, what it means to be 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.

Bursting with energy, rhythm and movement, Swing Time is Zadie Smith’s most ambitious novel yet. It is a story about music and identity, race and class, those who follow the dance and those who lead it . . .

It’s another great read from Zadie Smith. Beautifully and elegantly written it really does flow. The narrative jumps about in time and place, from childhood to adulthood and from London to New York to West Africa but hangs together well. The friendship of two girls remains at the heart of the book but the working adventures of the narrator as she follows her international singing superstar boss around the world are compellingly portrayed.

It’s a terrific and multifaceted novel which delivers on many levels and really should have made the Booker shortlist.

four stars

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