Race, class, sexual identity and the loss of both innocence and youth are all artfully explored in this story about four friends sorting out their lives in contemporary northwest London. Smith doesn't only give every character their own complex and beautifully unique voice, but she allows them each a different narrative form, reminiscent of Joyce (minus the annotations.) Delicately balanced between tragedy and comedy, this final page will leave you speechless.— From sarah c.
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
One of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year
A Best Book of the Year for the Wall Street Journal, GQ, and The New Yorker's James Wood
“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
“[NW] is that rare thing, a book that is radical and passionate and real.”
--Anne Enright, The New York Times Book Review
"Endlessly fascinating... remarkable. ...The impression of Smith's casual brilliance is what constantly surprises, the way she tosses off insights about parenting and work that you've felt in some nebulous way but never been able to articulate."
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"A marvelously accomplished work, perhaps her most polished yet."
—Laura Miller, Salon
"A triumph... As Smith threads together her characters' inner and outer worlds, every sentence sings."
"Smith's fiction has never been this deadly, direct, or economical... Where gifts are concerned, Smith is generous with hers; she writes, one feels, with our pleasure in mind... NW is Zadie Smith’s riskiest, meanest, most political and deeply felt book--but it all feels so effortless. She dazzles."
—Parul Sehgal, Bookforum
"NW offers a nuanced, disturbing exploration of the boundaries, some porous, some impenetrable, between people living cheek by jowl in urban centers where the widening gap between haves and have-nots has created chasms into which we're all in danger of falling."
"A powerful portrait of class and identity in multicultural London. "
"One of the most interesting portrayals of 30- something womanhood that I've come across in a long time. For other readers, Smith's brilliant eye and idiosyncratic ear should be ample enticement."
"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."
"Smith's masterful ability to suspend all these bits and parts in the amber which is London refracts light, history, and the humane beauty of seeing everything at once."
"In NW, Smith offers a robust novel bursting with life: a timely exploration of money, morals, class and authenticity that asks if we are ever truly the sole authors of our own fate."