Zadie Smith’s Swing Time is a story made of an intricate collection of recollections. The narrator takes you through her history, her childhood and her relationship with her magnetic friend Tracey parallel with interludes on the history of dance. The stories highs and lows take you alternatively through the narrator’s childhood and youth in England and work in Africa, all while Tracey moves in and out of her thoughts, in and out of her life, like a ghost. This history of dance winds its way through this book and lends itself well to the complexities of race and identity (and the associated power and politics that go hand in hand) that make up the meat of the book. Readable yet provoking.— From Bethany's Picks
December 1969 Indie Next List
“We never learn the narrator's name in Zadie Smith's Swing Time, and yet we know the character intimately. We see her in contrast to her childhood friend Tracey, who is agile and beautiful compared to the narrator's more prosaic style. We follow her as she matures into adulthood as the assistant to an Australian pop star. The chapters switch between past and present, and we see it all vividly: the struggles of maintaining friendships, racial tensions, parenting disparities, world politics. Once again, Smith has taken on the tough subjects. This will be a great pick for book clubs.”
— Mamie Potter, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
A New York Times bestseller * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction * Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West 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, 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. Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live. But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey--the same twists, the same shakes--and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.
About the Author
Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and NW, as well as a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. Swing Time is her fifth novel. Her new collection of essays, Feel Free, is on sale 2/6/2018.