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Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Book Review.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Book Review.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Book Review.

A truth was being revealed to me: that I had always tried to attach myself to the light of other people, that I had never had any light of my own. I experienced myself as a kind of shadow.”

Zadie Smith, in Swing Time

When we first meet our unnamed narrator, she has been sent home to London in disgrace, humiliated and in hiding. After being offline for seventy-two hours, she sees an email with a video attachment, that will not open, accompanied by a single line: Now everyone knows who you really are. Over the next 400 pages, we go back in time as she is trying to find out for herself, who she really is, and where she fits in in the context of her family, her peers and her neighbourhood, as well as on the larger scale of her cultural heritage.

This is a grand, sweeping novel of power, race, and class; a study of a difficult mother-daughter relationship and the complexities of female friendships; and the dichotomies of the haves versus the have-nots, the first world versus the third world and modern culture versus the traditional. Continuously threaded into the story, although never overpowering the larger themes, are music, dancing, and musical theatre, and how music and dance are one with culture and identity.

Continue reading my review here!


Swing Time by Zadie Smith, book review

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Hi! I'm Julia, a lifelong reader, an aspiring writer, medical doctor, and now book blogger, from Queensland, Australia! Go to 'About Read and Live Well' to learn more!

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