Swing Time (Hardback)
  • Swing Time (Hardback)
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Swing Time (Hardback)

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£18.99
Hardback 464 Pages / Published: 15/11/2016
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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.

Praise for Swing Time:

Swing Time is Zadie Smith’s fifth novel and for my money her finest… the novel 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.’ Guardian

Praise for Zadie Smith:

'Smith is the most naturally gifted young novelist around - with a fastidious ear for dialogue and a lethally quiet comic touch. Above all, she can move us' Times Literary Supplement

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

'Her dialogue sings and soars; terse, packed and sassy. Smith is simply wonderful: Dickens's legitimate daughter' Independent on NW

'Captivating. Funny, sexy, weird, full of acute social comedy. [Zadie Smith] is up there with the best around' Evening Standard on NW

'Intensely funny, richly varied, always unexpected. A joyous, optimistic, angry masterpiece. No better English novel will be published this year' Daily Telegraph on NW

'Exceptionally accomplished...Smith displays a remarkable talent for embracing all the possibilities of language, and time and again she produces images that shout out in their brilliance...An outstanding novelist' Observer on On Beauty

'Like Forster, Smith possesses a captivating authorial voice - at once authoritative and nonchalant, and capacious enough to accommodate high moral seriousness, laid-back humour and virtually everything in-between' New York Times on On Beauty

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241144152
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 746 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 40 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Satisfying and thoughtful * Daily Telegraph *
Publisher's description. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is Zadie Smith's most ambitious novel yet: 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. * Penguin *
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
[Smith] packs more intelligence, humour and sheer energy into any given scene than anyone else of her generation * Sunday Telegraph *
Zadie Smith's finest novel. Extraordinary, virtuosic... The novel 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 *
Endlessly satisfying... [Zadie Smith] has never written better. Pitch-perfect, masterful and sophisticated * Telegraph *
Zadie Smith at her finest... [An] unflinching portrait of friendship... [A] triumph * Guardian *
Ingenious, inspired... Zadie Smith's new novel is very good indeed * Sunday Times *
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 and the unjustness of the world... interwoven with another beautiful story of the dances people do to rise above it all * Economist *
Clever, funny, confident and kind. Her gift for language is a pleasure and her character shines through * Evening Standard *
A sweeping meditation on race and identity... [Smith's] most ambitious work yet * Esquire *
A nuanced, richly rewarding tale * Mail on Sunday *

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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
Helpful? Upvote 78

“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
Helpful? Upvote 69
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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