The Orange Prize-winning author Zadie Smith’s latest book, Swing Time, which has already received advance praise from critics, will be on sale online and in bookstores from November 15.
A London landscape
Smith’s Swing Time follows the lives of two biracial girls, retracing their friendship and roots as the story moves between North-West London and West Africa. Smith uses dance as a narratorial and stylistic tool, choosing to write entirely in the first person for the first time.
Born in London, Smith regularly chooses the English capital as the topography of her writing, her ability to recreate an authentic blend of contemporary voices considered one of her strongest authorial qualities.
Swing Time alternates between the childhood and adulthood of the unnamed narrator, swinging between time periods to explore both cultural and personal histories. The title is also a clear reference to the musicality Smith has chosen for the novel, the connection to dance and tradition in contrast with modernity and pop culture.
Critics have long had Swing Time on their bestseller lists for this year, including an iBooks pick for “25 Best Books of November,” “12 Best New Books of 2016” by Harper’s Bazaar and “16 Books You Should Read This November” by Penguin Press.
Swing Time has also been shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. That said, the pressure is still on for Smith’s fifth novel.
White Teeth, written during Smith’s last year at Cambridge University, was awarded the 2000 Whitbread Book Award in the Best First Novel category and the Guardian First Book Award among others. In 2002 it was adapted by the BBC for a television series.
Smith’s third novel On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2005, and her fourth novel NW was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
NW has also been adapted into a 90-minute drama for BBC 2, set to air in the UK on November 14, the day before Swing Time is released.
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