|London is the place for me|
The fact that both books had been written by two female writers, themselves examples of those very migrants who had arrived in Britain a generation earlier, seemed to herald a new era in multicultural Britain.
A few books on and it is fair to say that Smith's impressive talent hasn't faded away. In fact, quite the opposite, I think.
After the stylish and funny On Beauty, an acid satire of academia across the pond, this talented writer takes us now all the way back to North West London (hence the title); this way, the author stays home turf as this is where she was born.
The book follows the lives of four Londoners who grew up in the same North West council estate; two of them, Leah and Natalie, have been best friends ever since a dramatic event in a swimming pool brought them together. The other two, Felix and Nathan, had led their own lives but through different events, they will eventually encounter their old friends.
It has been said that no other writer has been able to capture London life like this since Dickens. That seems to me rather a statement which I don't feel qualified to agree with or even question. Regardless, Zadie Smith's prose is brilliant, it flows in such a way that one imagines and hears the characters' accents as though they were talking to you. That is where the merits of this novel lay.
NW grabs you from the very first page with splendid and very well defined characters and a vibrant story (or stories) that resonates with anyone, Londoner or otherwise, who has experienced what urban life is like.
A highly recommend read.