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Found 8 results

  1. Unnamed narrator, a brown girl growing up in Brent, gets the dream job working as a general factotum for an international rock star called Aimee who is really Madonna wearing a Kylie mask. The story dips back and forth in our narrator's life. There was a friendly childhood rivalry with Tracey - who lived fun the flats on the wrong side of the road. There was the job working for a youth TV company. There was the mother's political career as she became MP for Brent West. There were romances. The really constant line, though, is Aimee. This is a good insight into the world of the sup
  2. I enjoyed White Teeth, and I really loved On Beauty, but The Autograph Man left me baffled. Has anyone else read it? The central character, Alex-Li Tandem is a Chinese/Jewish young man who makes his living trading in autographs and other celebrity memorabelia. Interesting, sure, but the significance of many different parts of the book left me confused. I was very quickly hooked in by the first chapter, where Alex, as a young boy, goes with his father to watch Big Daddy wrestle with Giant Haystacks at the Albert Hall. It was an intriguing, inviting opening. Then it jumped to when
  3. The Embassy of Cambodia is ultra-short - perhaps only a tenth of a standard novel. But it's not a short story or even a novella. It stands, structurally, as a novel with both character and plot progression, chapters and backstory. But all in miniature. The novel opens with some observations about Willesden and the Cambodian Embassy in a general, everyman point of view. Very soon, however, the focus narrows to Fatou, an Ivoirean migrant who is working as, it seems, trafficked labour for a wealthy Pakistani family. Fatou has a naturally optimistic and phlegmatic disposition that means she te
  4. If I state that the main characters all went to the same school and came originally from the same council estate in N W London and we follow them into their thirties you'd probably think 'oh not another one of those rites of passage' sagas but with a writer of Zadie Smith's class it's nothing so mundane. Everything comes to life through her great ear for language. I was so impressed with this faculty of hers making the novel so full of vitality and not just street life with its 'innits' but the private lives too. Of the main characters Keisha, who in her climb out of the tattler parts of nor
  5. Anyone interested in discussing this brilliant book? I read it a while ago, but remember being so impressed with the breadth of Smith's vision as well as her compassionate and humorous view of human nature. I think she handles some really profound and significant issues with a deftness that is very unusual and the novel ends with that good feeling that is so characteristic of well-written comedy.
  6. The Book of Other People is a collection of short stories edited by Zadie Smith. Each writer was given the brief that they had to invent a character, and the title of each story is simply the character's name. There are some well-known writers featured here (David Mitchell, Smith herself, Nick Hornby, Jonathan Safran Foer, Hari Kunzru) as well as some I'd never heard of (Aleksander Hemon, Vendela Vida and the fabulously named Edwidge Danticat). Some of the stories didn't work for me, in particular the two graphic stories which weren't really my thing, and Toby Litt's story about a monster. The
  7. RRP: £16.99, <a href ="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/spring2005.asp?CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank">The Book Pl@ce</a> Price: £12.74 Just click on book jacket <A HREF="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/display.asp?ISB=0241142938&CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank"> <IMG SRC="http://213.253.134.29/jackets/m/024/0241142938.jpg"></A> Howard Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering Professor at Wellington College. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer rese
  8. From On Beauty by Zadie Smith - 'Zora..slid off her stool to get some more half and half and a slice of cheesecake. Somehow if you ordered the cheesecake as an afterthought it had fewer calories in it.'
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