Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith has been on my radar for years but other books kept jumping the queue. I finally get the hype.
Plotwise, Swing Time is compelling, swinging through time from the present back to the past. The story follows two childhood friends who grow up together in neighbouring London estates and bond over their shared love of dance. Life takes them on wildly different trajectories. The unnamed narrator ends up a PA for a pop star, taking her away from her childhood estate to places all over the world. Tracey struggles with life and follows her mum’s footsteps and becomes a single mum stuck in the estate.
I love books that shed light on race, class, gender and identity. Swing Time does just that. I learnt a lot from the experiences the narrator had in Africa, and the way she navigated her Jamaican heritage. I particularly loved this quote “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.”
Clever, compelling, entertaining. I’m now on a Zadie binge.