Review: NW

NWNW by Zadie Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't really know what to say. It was so hard to get through this book, so hard to really get at the meat of what Smith was trying to say. Is it because I read it on my own? But I read On Beauty on my own, and loved it. This one didn't quite speak to me the way On Beauty and White Teeth did.

That's not to say it's not a great book. I really think there's something special about it, about its format and content and the storytelling styles of each of the three major parts. Maybe I just didn't get it. Someone else said it was a book about language, and I can see that, since language itself defined the characters. Smith got dialects down so well I could hear them in my head with absolutely no trouble. Miscommunication and other language failures reared their ugly heads throughout. But I still can't say I "got it."

Keep writing, Zadie Smith, because you are truly brilliant. And forgive those of us who can appreciate the story but be left a bit confused at the end. I think I understand you much better in an academic setting, with people who will discuss the work with me, rather than alone in my bedroom going, "huh?"

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