Swing Time by Zadie Smith: A Review
Smith is a magician with words. I felt myself highlighting her words of wisdom many times in order to read them later. I felt that Swing Time is a very important book. The book addresses many issues that are important to today's society, such as how single parenthood effects children and how people from a multicultural background interpret and react to the world. There are also important lessons in appropriation and cultural misunderstanding as Aimee insists on tackling the problem of poverty in Africa while ignoring the fact that she may be hurting more than helping the situation. In the end I saw bits of Aimee in the young woman, though, as they both felt that they knew better than the people actually effected by the circumstances they are in. The book did move a bit slowly for my taste but I still enjoyed it. The characters are what really stood out for me. I felt for Tracey and empathized with the young woman. I felt frustrated at the young woman's mother for her selfishness while she attempted to save the world at the expense of her daughter but understood the mother's need to do so because of where she was born. This book is a great work of literary fiction and would be a great book for those readers who enjoy books with a multicultural heritage.
Watch a video of Zadie Smith discuss Swing Time at the 92nd St Y:
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