This is a book in which you never know how things will come together or what will happen next... NW represents a deliberate undoing; an unpacking of Smith’s abundant narrative gifts to find a deeper truth, audacious and painful as that truth may be. The result is that rare thing, a book that is radical and passionate and real.
Anne Enright - New York Times Book Review
A boldly Joycean appropriation, fortunately not so difficult of entry as its great model... Like Zadie Smith’s much-acclaimed predecessor White Teeth (2000), NW is an urban epic."
Joyce Carol Oates - New York Review of Books
Smith has never been a writer who travels directly from A to B.... Smith is not interested in exploring the unbroken line of cause and effect. What NW does offer, in abundance, is the sense of being plunged with great immediacy into the lives of these characters and their neighborhood. How wonderful to have a new version of London to explore.
A complicated novel that's endlessly fascinating.... The impression of Smith's casual brilliance is what constantly surprises, the way she tosses off insights about parenting and work that you've felt in some nebulous way but never been able to articulate. While her own voice can seem crisp and clinical, it's tinged with irony, and her dialogue ripples off the page in full stereo.... At times, reading NW is like running past a fence, catching only strips of light from the scene on the other side. Smith makes no accommodation for the distracted reader—or even the reader who demands a clear itinerary. But if you're willing to let it work on you, to hear all these voices and allow the details to come into focus when Smith wants them to, you'll be privy to an extraordinary vision of our age.
Ron Charles - Washington Post
If our everyday world suddenly turns dark, zany and lyrically weird one day, it's probably because Zadie Smith has learned how to control us all. In NW, Ms. Smith takes her courageous forays into the vernacular to new heights, using perspectives that are perhaps more native to her but in a form that feels brand new.
[NW is] a real sign of how Smith has developed and grown. It is a terrific novel: deeply ambitious, an attempt to use literature as a kind of excavation, while at the same time remaining intensely readable, intensely human, a portrait of the way we live.
Los Angeles Times
[An] excellent and captivating new novel, in which the lines dividing neighbors from strangers are not always clear or permanent.... Smith's masterful ability to suspend all these bits and parts in the amber which is London refracts light, history, and the humane beauty of seeing everything at once.
It's been seven years since Smith last published a novel, so we're all really chaffing to read this one. NW stands for northwest, that is, northwest London, where a group of friends living on an estate make their way through school and on to adulthood, staying more or less true to their ideals.
A wildly ambitious jigsaw puzzle of a nove.... Smith takes big risks here, but some might need to read this twice before all the pieces fit together, and more conventionally minded readers might abandon it in frustration.
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