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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

I love Zadie Smith's writing.  I read 'On Beauty' many years ago when my eldest was in college and taking a class on contemporary British literature.  I discovered A.S. Byatt and Zadie Smith, and while it did not exactly cover the cost of tuition at a high end New England college, it did help.
This book is about two friends from childhood who are really almost more like acquaintances from the very beginning.  Their main attraction to each other is that they are the same shade of brown, which is not much of a trait to build a friendship on, but it helped both of them feel less alone when they were in grade school together.  The book goes on to explore color, class, colonialism, and the trajectories that life can take you on when you don't think and just act on what is the thing in front of you that appeals to you.  It is a very well told story, one that involves all sorts of careers and places.  One thing it does say loud and clear to me is that the legacy of slavery in the Afro-Caribbean population is that of not feeling like you truly belong anywhere, not even in Africa.  It makes it easier to pick up and leave where ever you are, but harder to settle down.  Very thought provoking book with main characters who are largely unlikable but who make you think.

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