North West London comes vividly to life in NW, the new novel by the author of the bestselling White Teeth and Man Booker-shortlisted On Beauty.
This is the story of a city.
The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between.
Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds.
And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation . . .
Zadie Smith's brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan - as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.
Depicting the modern urban zone - familiar to town-dwellers everywhere - Zadie Smith's NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.
'Undeniably brilliant . . . rush out and buy this book before the summer is out' Observer
'Intensely funny, richly varied, always unexpected. A joyous, optimistic, angry masterpiece. No better English novel will be published this year' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph
'A hilarious and lyrical love letter to north-west London . . . Like Dickens, Smith not only has a playwright's gift for dialogue, she also employs a powerful social outrage with great humour to create thrilling works of literary fiction. This is a very big book' Sunday Telegraph
'A novel all about roots . . . darkly brilliant' Sunday Times
'A master class in freestyle fiction writing. Smith mashes up voices and vignettes, poetry and instant messaging, bedroom preferences and murder, and keeps it all from collapsing into incoherent mush with deft, dry wit. Smith defines characters worth reading' Newsday
'A tour-de-force . . . inventive, stimulating and poignant' Scotland on Sunday
'Her dialogue sings and soars; terse, packed and sassy. Smith is simply wonderful: Dickens's legitimate daughter' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'A marvelously accomplished work, perhaps her most polished yet' Salon
'Absolutely brilliant . . . So electrically authentic, it reads like surveillance transcripts' Lev Grossman, TIME
Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. She is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man and On Beauty, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She is also the author of a collection of essays, Changing My Mind, and the editor of The Book of Other People.