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Swing Time (Paperback)
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Swing Time (Paperback)

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£8.99 £6.99
Paperback 464 Pages / Published: 06/07/2017
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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017

Read the first chapter of Swing Time

The rest of it, all the detail, fell away… The story was the price you paid for the rhythm.

On an unremarkable Saturday in 1982, two girls meet. Two brown girls who both dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent; a talent so undeniable she is taught to rely on it as a promise, as a way out. The other is taught she has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. She is taught her future is her own to decide.

Theirs a close but complicated childhood friendship that halts abruptly in their early twenties as their two paths diverge and their lives dance out of each other's view, but never out of their shadow.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is a story about the turn and dip and sway of lives in endless, perpetual motion; an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141036601
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 321 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Zadie Smith at her finest... [An] unflinching portrait of friendship... [A] triumph." - Guardian

"Zadie Smith's finest novel. Extraordinary, virtuosic... [It] does what only literature can and what only great literature will: forces us to assess the very vocabulary with which we speak of human experience." - Observer

"Ingenious, inspired... Zadie Smith's new novel is very good indeed." - Sunday Times

"Satisfying and thoughtful." - Daily Telegraph

"Endlessly satisfying... [Zadie Smith] has never written better. Pitch-perfect, masterful and sophisticated." - Telegraph

"Clever, funny, confident and kind. Her gift for language is a pleasure and her character shines through." - Evening Standard 

"[Smith] packs more intelligence, humour and sheer energy into any given scene than anyone else of her generation ." - Sunday Telegraph

Shrewd observation and sly satire, profundity and genuine purpose, as well as some of the most heart-stoppingly lyrical writing of her career * Scotland on Sunday *

A powerful story of lives marred by secrets, unfulfilled potential, the unjustness of the world...and the dances people do to rise above it all * Economist *

A sweeping meditation on race and identity... [Smith's] most ambitious work yet * Esquire *

A nuanced, richly rewarding tale * Mail on Sunday

Zadie Smith is the best writer of our generation, and Swing Time is her best book to date. As the title promises, the novel swings and pulsates with life, filled with emotion, excited by intellect and haunted by sadness. What a miracle that literature can still do things other forms of art cannot. What a miracle that Zadie Smith is among us, writing. -- Gary Shteyngart

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Reviews

View all
Helen Dawson

“A great time to read Swing Time!”

A very enjoyable book with characters that you feel you could have met at some point they are so real! Having grown up the 70/80's London the setting is very accurate too. Truth and lies, dysfunctional family;... More

Hardback edition
7th February 2017
Helpful? Upvote 60

“Contains dance and drama”

The story involves a narrator who never gives her name and her childhood friend Tracy – two mixed-race girls who want to be dancers. Only Tracy, however, has any talent. The narrator drops out of university to become... More

Hardback edition
6th December 2016
Helpful? Upvote 52
Angie at Glasgow Sauchiehall Street

“A profoundly insightful novel about toxic relationships, how we struggle to deal with them, and their lasting impact.”

Thanks so much to Hamish Hamilton and NetGalley for making review copies of this book available to booksellers.

I've seen this novel described in several places as a book about friendship, but I find that... More

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