Shortlisted for: UK Author of the year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of NW, Zadie Smith's first novel since the best-selling On Beauty.
This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system.
Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation....
Zadie Smith's brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan - as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone - familiar to town-dwellers everywhere - Zadie Smith's NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.
©2012 Zadie Smith (P)2012 Penguin Books Limited
"This is a book written by someone who really knows how to listen, and who truly understands what people are like, and what they might become. In a hundred years time, when readers want to understand what the English novel was capable of, and what English life truly felt like, they will look at NW, and warm to it.
....like all four of Smith's wonderful novels, it relies on what always makes a novel go: a humane love of and interest in men and women, overlooked and yet worth our deepest interest. It is a joyous, optimistic, angry masterpiece, and no better English novel will be published this year, or, probably, next." (Philip Hensher The Telegraph)
"It's a funny, perceptive, look at the muddle of modern life." (Shortlist)
"Not quite her best"
I love her work, but this is my least favourite. She does give a terrific portrait of life in a marginal London community - scarcely a community actually - that is psychologically and sociologically satisfying. Yet the plotting is poor and confusing. Questions remain unresolved at the end. She's tried to be too clever and oblique when her straight story-telling is peerless at its best.
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