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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has written for Bookforum, The New York Review of Books, and other publications. Her last article for Harper’s Magazine, “Heartache and the Thousand Natural Shocks,” appeared in the November 2010 issue.

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