An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty.
Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.
Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.
But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey--the same twists, the same shakes--and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 2017
'Brilliant' --Guardian 'Superb' --Financial Times 'Virtuosic and breathtaking' --Times Literary Supplement 'There is still no better chronicler of the modern British family than Zadie Smith' --Telegraph
Endlessly satisfying... [Zadie Smith] has never written better. Pitch-perfect, masterful and sophisticated Telegraph
Zadie Smith is the best writer of our generation, and Swing Time is her best book to date. As the title promises, the novel swings and pulsates with life, filled with emotion, excited by intellect and haunted by sadness. What a miracle that literature can still do things other forms of art cannot. What a miracle that Zadie Smith is among us, writing. -- Gary Shteyngart
Clever, funny, confident and kind. Her gift for language is a pleasure and her character shines through-- Evening Standard
[Smith] packs more intelligence, humour and sheer energy into any given scene than anyone else of her generation --Sunday Telegraph
Zadie Smith's finest novel. Extraordinary, virtuosic... [It] does what only literature can and what only great literature will: forces us to assess the very vocabulary with which we speak of human experience --Observer
Zadie Smith at her finest... [An] unflinching portrait of friendship... [A] triumph --Guardian
Ingenious, inspired... Zadie Smith's new novel is very good indeed --Sunday Times
Shrewd observation and sly satire, profundity and genuine purpose, as well as some of the most heart-stoppingly lyrical writing of her career --Scotland on Sunday
A powerful story of lives marred by secrets, unfulfilled potential, the unjustness of the world...and the dances people do to rise above it all --Economist
A sweeping meditation on race and identity... [Smith's] most ambitious work yet Esquire A nuanced, richly rewarding tale --Mail on Sunday