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 2016 Indie Next List
“In her gracefully written new work, the author of NW and White Teeth addresses the frustrations of family relations, the complications of race, the tyranny of celebrity, and the travesty of cultural appropriation. Smith looks at the fragile threads that tie friends together and how easily they can snap, and her prose flows without effort, granting even the most flawed characters --and there are many -- a modicum of redemption.”
— Peggy Latkovich (E), Mac's Backs Paperbacks, Cleveland Heights, OH
A New York Times bestseller
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
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.