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Reflection on 'Swing Time'

Alexandra Drake
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Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Alexandra Drake from Houston Public Library reviews Swing Time by Zadie Smith.

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

Prolific British author Zadie Smith penned the novel Swing Time in 2016 and the themes running throughout are vital in this modern age, though the setting seems somewhat nostalgic. The novel is inherently aimed at a generation given life-changing opportunities by society as well as their parents, but who have a hard time grasping their own identities.

“Now everyone knows who you really are.” is the accusatory text the narrator receives and then endeavors to explain throughout the course of the story, but she and the people around her never really realize.

The constant exploration of finding out how to define yourself is a universal feeling, and the narrator surrounds herself with strong personalities, which seems to hinder instead of encouraging her to step out and find her strength. They include a political activist mother, an internationally famous pop star and her wildly talented childhood friend.

Readers will be engaged by the excellent writing, interesting narrative and most of all, the interplay between characters who are all so unique, but share an inherently narrow perspective on the world. It is inspiring, provocative and thoughtful. I would highly recommend the audiobook if you want to hear the wonderfully broad range of accents! 

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