Reviews — From the November 2012 issue

Mental Weather

The many voices of Zadie Smith

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Discussed in this essay: NW, by Zadie Smith. The Penguin Press. 416 pages. $26.95. penguin.com. Zadie Smith is a writer much given to acts of public self-examination. In 2008, Smith gave a lecture to students at Columbia University in which she disowned the spirit of meddling investigation that characterized White Teeth, her thunderously acclaimed 2000 debut novel, written when she was twenty-four. Back then she had a quotation from Gravity’s Rainbow hanging on her door. At that time, I apparently believed it was the duty of the novel to rigorously pursue hidden information: personal, political, historical. I say apparently because …

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