|Even the cover |
White Teeth to Sandra Bullock one day when she was shopping at BookPeople and asked for "the best book you've read recently." I didn't hesitate. I was really, really excited when her publisher announced a new novel in the fall, and the Penguin rep, knowing I'm a huge fan, sent me an advance reader copy of NW.
I didn't hate it, but really, my ire rose with every best of the year list that NW made. It is not a best book of the year. As a novel it falls short and is a hot mess of fragmented characters and ideas. I don't have an issue at all with the unconventional writing styles that Smith utilizes in sections, but, well, they don't really work. They serve mostly to make the book more difficult to read, but don't add to the story or characterization in any way. What I don't understand is when Zadie Smith became one of those writers above criticism. No one feared calling her second book, The Autograph Man, a disappointment, so why did NW not receive similar criticisms? How did it end up on the New York Times Best Books list?
I will read Zadie Smith's next book as soon as it goes on sale and won't carry (much of) a grudge. I just was really, really disappointed with NW.