Swing Time

Zadie Smith

Swing Time
  • Format
  • Publisher
  • Country
  • Published
  • Pages
  • ISBN

Swing Time

Zadie Smith

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. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

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…

Review

Within the first few pages of Swing Time I was affected, again, by Zadie Smith’s ability to make universal truths personal. The story is a complete portrait of our time – our complex relationships with social media, parents, race, politics and motivations are all exposed.

Told by an unnamed narrator, a female of Jamaican decent, the story centres on the complicated friendship of two women throughout their childhood and middle age in the housing estates of London. By dividing the fortunes of these two women, Smith has been able to define a generation that is left bereft and wanting. In her early adulthood, the narrator becomes a personal assistant to a (white) world-famous entertainer who dabbles in philanthropy in an African country. Through her decade long work with this star, the narrator is able to leave her upbringing and her friendship with her childhood friend, a talented dancer. It is here that the novel becomes its own anthropological study. Smith has used this novel, as well we all should, to explore the question that surely rankles us all: how are we to be good in a world full of consumerism and self-serving hubris?

Swing Time has its own rhythm and flow, twisting periods of time around as the narrator comes to terms with what is important and what has been lost. Smith’s writing is beautiful and multifaceted with meaning. This is an important novel and, for me, as breathtaking and emotionally moving as White Teeth. This is my book of the year.


Chris Gordon is the Events Manager for Readings.

This item is in-stock and will ship in 2-3 business days

We are currently experiencing delays in processing and delivering online orders. Click here for more information.

Please note, our stock data is updated overnight, and availability may change throughout the day. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Sign in or become a Readings Member to add this title to a wishlist.

 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.

$22.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

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...

$22.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

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...

$22.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

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...

$22.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 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.

$32.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...

 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.

$24.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...