Swing Time - Zadie Smith

Staff Pick

Terpsichore, the muse of dance, inhabits Zadie Smith’s kinetic Swing Time (Penguin Press, $27), a novel that launches and lands passages engaging the complexities of racial identity, class privilege, and the psychic half-life of adolescence. Swing Time revolves around a nameless protagonist/narrator and her childhood friend Tracey—both of whom are bi-racial brown girls, of similar means, who share a burgeoning love of dance’s varied forms. These bonds, however, also mark the fault lines of their simpatico sisterhood, which reverberate into other familial and professional relationships, especially the out-of-synch dynamic between the apolitical narrator and her activist mother. With uncanny rhythm, Smith spins the narrative out, back, and through the three decades of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and ’00s, tumbling temporal order and spanning the continents of Europe, America, and Africa. Swing Time also has an intertextual link to several musical routines; Ali Baba Goes to Town, featuring Jeni LeGon, Thriller and Smooth Criminal featuring Michael Jackson, and of course Swing Time, featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, all help drive the plot. Smith’s dance-inspired fiction is a remarkable feat of grace, technique, and verve.

Swing Time By Zadie Smith Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594203985
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - November 15th, 2016