Which Zadie Smith book should you read first?

Exciting news: Zadie Smith is coming to Melbourne as part of the Wheeler Centre’s Broadside festival. If you want to get stuck into this legendary author’s oeuvre, but aren’t sure where to begin, read on!


grandread

Interweaving 10 completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Grand Union is a sharply alert and slyly prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us.

Read this book if…
You’re looking for a book you can easily pick up and put down.
You love all different kinds of genres, from spec fic to snarky satire.
You enjoy having the most up-to-date book in your hands.

Do not read this book if…
You’re a hater of short stories.


feelfreeread

In Feel Free, pop culture, high culture, social change and political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment, dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, and considered with a deep humanity and compassion.

Read this book if…
You’re a fiend for non-fiction.
You love a literary take on pop culture.
You want a book that will inspire intelligent dinner table discussions.

Do not read this book if…
You have a subscription to the New Yorker or the New York Review of Books (many of the essays in the book were previously published there).


nwfread

NW follows four Londoners after they’ve left their childhood council estate, grown up and moved on to different lives. After a chance encounter they each find that the choices they’ve made, the people they once were and are now, can suddenly, rapidly unravel. A portrait of modern urban life, NW is funny, sad and urgent.

Read this book if…
You love the city of London.
You’re a fan of novels that show characters growing up.
You want to read fiction that engages with social issues and ideas.

Do not read this book if…
You can’t stand books where setting is treated almost like a character.


onbeautread

Set in New England mainly and London partly, On Beauty concerns a pair of feuding families and a clutch of doomed affairs. For the Belseys and the Kipps, the confusions – both personal and political – of our uncertain age are about to be brought close to home: right to the heart of family.

Read this book if…
You gravitate towards fiction that needs to be savoured.
You can’t say no to a sprawling family saga.
You love a campus novel.

Do not read this book if…
Annoying characters or bad decisions in fiction drive you mad.


whiteteeeda

One of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.

Read this book if…
You love a big, Dickens-esque novel.
You like to read an author’s ‘best’ book first.
Your ideal book weaves a bit of fate into the plot.

Do not read this book if…
You are short on time to dedicate to a big, meaty novel.


swingteida

Two brown girls dream of being dancers, but only one 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. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them.

Read this book if…
You like your novels experimental.
You love the performing arts.
You’re fascinated by celebrity.

Do not read this book if…
You dislike novels that have a nonlinear timeline.

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Grand Union

Grand Union

Zadie Smith

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 Read reviewSwing Time

Swing Time

Zadie Smith

Two dancers with different approaches to their craft share a complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, in a story that transitions from northwest London to West Africa.

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NW

NW

Zadie Smith

From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their city is brutal, beautiful and complicated. Yet after a chance encounter they each find that the choices they've made, the people they once were and are now, can...

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White Teeth

White Teeth

Zadie Smith

Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, this book is...

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On Beauty

On Beauty

Zadie Smith

Why do we fall in love with the people we do? Why do we visit our mistakes on our children? What makes life truly beautiful? This is a story about a pair of feuding families - the Belseys and the Kipps - and a clutch of doomed...

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 Special price Read reviewGrand Union

Grand Union

Zadie Smith

The first ever collection of stories from the bestselling and beloved author of Swing Time and White Teeth.

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 Read reviewFeel Free: Essays

Feel Free: Essays

Zadie Smith

Arranged into four sections--In the World, In the Audience, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free--this collection poses questions we may immediately recognize.

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