2017 Booker Prize longlist: Swing Time by Zadie Smith

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2017 Booker Prize longlist: Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Jul 26, 2017, 8:42 pm

This topic is for discussion of Swing Time by Zadie Smith. No spoilers, please.

Jul 27, 2017, 11:15 am

I read this some months ago and while it doesn't lack for ambition or scope, I thought it was flawed enough for me to be a bit surprised it made the longlist.

I did like it, but there were missteps and places where it was decidedly unsubtle in its messaging. I think Smith is a talented author, but this isn't her best, and it's certainly not an adequate reflection of what she's capable of. The first half was a lot better than the second.

Editado: Set 15, 2017, 10:29 am

After weeks and weeks I'm only half through with this. Basically, I enjoy it very much (4 stars by now) and I agree with >2 RidgewayGirl: re. ambition and scope. However I find in this case I can't deal with all the non-linear narration well. It bothered me less in many other books, but here it feels rough and I'm annyoed with each chapter change, constantly being ripped out of a piece of plot I'd like to follow for a bit longer. I then often put it aside for a couple of days and almost forget it.

Edit Sep 15: at 85% now. I like this book very much, but I see how it's half a miracle it got on the list at all. It's all head and all difficult issues, and the continuous time jumps don't make the read any easier. It's like stumbling all the time, it lacks a flow.
I was only recently reminded that AS was influenced by the Ferrante series which helped me a lot with the narrator/ Tracy storyline. Two sides of one coin, when one faces up, the other one has to face down. But seriously - the whole issue with the father is that ridiculous thing Tracy wrote in that letter or is there more to come?

Edit 2 Sep 15: the Kindle edition surprisingly ends at 94%, the rest is a sample of White Teeth.
I thought the ending was weak in comparison to the rest, it doesn't know where to go. Not that there was a real obvious alternative. Well, I guess the nameless narrator will just live on.

Nov 3, 2020, 12:06 am

I’m calling it quits. I enjoyed Zadie Smith’s earlier works but this book is just boring. Two not so interesting girls doing nog so interesting things in a world of music and glamour. I know that the story will move on to West Africa and that might add a lot but I can’t be bothered any longer.