Book review: NW

NW- Zadie Smith
I've never read White Teeth, although I did read On Beauty about 5 years ago and I remember being underwhelmed with it. I'd considered buying Zadie Smith's latest novel, NW, for a while due to the insane amount of praise and hype but, in the end, it was one of the choices for the Mirror Book Club. 
NW is divided into four parts, each one telling the story of a Londoner in Willesden who went to school with each of the others. Their stories, which are interwoven with each other, follow the trials they have faced since leaving school and highlight the differences in their lives. Each part is written in a different style which I do understand- each character has a different personality and the written style reflects this- but I found it a little too try-hard. The first part, written about the frustrated and far too trusting wife Leah, was by far the most difficult to read. It's perhaps supposed to be original and quirky, but it just comes across as the desperate work from an unimaginative creative writing student. Here is a prime example:
On top of this, I found the characters unlikeable and underdeveloped. Leah is very naive and optimistic, Natalie- originally named Keisha- is desperate to hide her council roots, Nathan is a possibly violent vagrant, but none of these personality traits are actually explored. They are just there. The only character that is in any way likeable is the drug user-turned-family man Felix, but his section is only very short. A missed opportunity, I feel. 
 In the end, I just didn't care. That was the main problem with this book: It left me utterly apathetic. I didn't dislike it, I just wasn't at all bothered. I'd rather hate a book completely than be left feeling totally unmoved. 


  1. I read On Beauty too, and never bothered with any of her other books after that. I felt about that book, the way you describe feeling about this: bored. It was just a nothingy storyline, and I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I'm glad someone else feels this way! Also, I'm glad I read this review, as it has convinced me not to buy this book, as I was considering giving Zadie another chance. She always attracts such praise! x

    1. I don't understand why she's so praised at all! I really, really don't recommend it, especially if you were bored by On Beauty too.

  2. Hate when a book leaves me feeling underwhelmed. makes me feel like it was a waste of time :(

    1. I know! Especially as it takes me ages to read those kind of books because I just can't be bothered to plough through them!


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