To call a book a work of genius can be the kiss of death. So…NW (Penguin Press, $26.95), by Zadie Smith, is by turns dynamic, unsettling, comforting, and delightful. Weaving a web that encompasses several generations of North West Londoners, Smith takes the multifaceted storytelling she so excelled at in White Teeth and adds adrenaline. NW begins, however, with the slow, swirling pace of a prose poem, and picks up speed as the story steadily unfolds. You will wonder how she can possibly bring together so many diverse strands, and you will enjoy her stunning prose, while being torn between awe and envy, that she can choreograph such dances with words. NW’s conclusion is utterly relatable, natural, and written with a prowess that can only be described as...well, you know.
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