by Zadie Smith
2.7 18


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NW by Zadie Smith

New York Times Ten Best Books of 2012

“A boldly Joycean appropriation, fortunately not so difficult of entry as its great model… Like Zadie Smith’s much-acclaimed predecessor White Teeth (2000), NW is an urban epic.” --Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

This is the story of a city.

The northwest 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.

Zadie Smith’s newest novel, Swing Time, will be published by Penguin Press in November 2016.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594203978
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 1,244,144
Product dimensions: 6.48(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.28(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Zadie Smith was born in northwest London in 1975. She is the author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW, Changing My Mind, and most recently, Swing Time.


London, England

Date of Birth:

October 27, 1975

Place of Birth:

Willesden, London, England


B.A. in English, King's College at Cambridge University, 1998

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NW 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. The slang London references were sometimes daunting for a Yankee, but I could usually figure them out from the text. Very clever that way Zadie brought the stories together and I very much liked the ending. It was well written and full of cultural and recent event references. Worth a read.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
“NW” by Zadie Smith was . . . different. Smith’s writing style was unique, and varied depending on what section of the book you are reading. The book follows three individuals, telling their stories of their lives, woes, and troubles in NW corner of the same city. The stories are separate, but have similar notes in them, and are interconnected in some ways. But I’m going to be honest, I just didn’t get it fully. I understood each person’s difficulties but not how it was wrapped up together in the end. The ending just left me confused. So, if you are a super literary type, then you might enjoy the writing style and get more out of the novel than I did. I’ll try to read another Zadie Smith, but I wouldn’t really recommend this tough-to-read novel to the masses. But while I was seeing if Smith had a website, I found this interesting tidbit: Apparently, Jay-Z bought Zadie Smith a fish sandwich. What book have you read recently that just left you stumped? Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like smith and enjoyed White Teeth. This novel was painful to get through, and trust me, I kept trying. The characters just are not likable enough for the reader to care
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
A novel praised as highly as Zadie Smith’s NW surely has to be good. It’s evocatively told in the voices of believable Londoners, replete with natural intonation and convincing expression. But it’s a slow story and not an easy read, especially not to ears unattuned to the characters. For me, NW came to life as I started the third section, where Keisha/Natalie gives a stream-of-consciousness depiction of her experiences, vividly filled with fascinating short asides. Suddenly events and characters from the earlier parts seemed more believable and relatable. Keisha/Natalie drives her fiercely awkward way into a world that never quite seems to accept her, from a world that never quite seemed to understand, and the conflict between building and tearing down makes the short sections of her writing truly haunting. In other parts of the book, the author employs different writing styles, chosen perhaps to suit the characters. For Leah, there’s a fractured image of changing fonts and pagination. For Felix, long paragraphs drive home the point. But for Keisha... I’m not sure if it’s the smoother reading and white space on the page, or if she’s truly an easier character to relate to, but it’s certainly her section that drew me in. I didn’t love this novel, but I was definitely intrigued by it, and it’s well worth the read. Disclosure: London’s not my part of England, and it feels very foreign to me now.
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Super good book
GrammyReading More than 1 year ago
some folk like a particular type of music...while others enjoy music in whatever form it comes..that's how this book was...even when i wanted to shut it and not read any more...i kept listening until i could hear zadie smith making music....at times i could hum along...at other times i was an eager student..needing to learn something new...inevitably, all the words and notes came clear at the end..."Billy Preston: Will It Go Around In Circles?"...will it fly high like a bird up in the sky....
Nannydiver More than 1 year ago
There are books that maybe I don't like, style, subject etc. This was a subject I was looking forward to reading about. It's beyond me why B&N recommended it. Absolute trash!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ridiculus writing, cant see how she got it published