Somewhere in Northwest London stands Caldwell housing estate, relic of 70s urban planning. Five identical blocks, deliberately named: Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke, and Russell. If you grew up there, the plan was to get out and get on, to something bigger, better.
Thirty years later, ex-Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan have all made it out, with varying degrees of succes - whatever that means. Living only streets apart, they occupy separate worlds and navigate an atomized city where few wish to be their neighbor’s keeper. Then, one April afternoon, a stranger comes to Leah’s door seeking help, disturbing the peace, and forcing Leah out of her isolation....
From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, in this delicate, devastating novel of encounters, the main streets hide the back alleys, and taking the high road can sometimes lead to a dead end. Zadie Smith’s NW brilliantly depicts the modern urban zone - familiar to city dwellers everywhere - in a tragicomic novel as mercurial as the city itself.
©2012 Zadie Smith (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks
the narrator really brought the characters to life
Karen Bryson turns the story into what feels like a live performance by someone who really understands and cares about each character. Her spoken use of the chapter numbers also adds to the story and my ability to see the words and events in their proper context.
I had a little trouble getting what was going on in the beginning as I am not familiar with all of the references to neighborhoods in London. It became clearer as we went along so think I will listen to the beginning again.
I listened to this book, then read it and then listened again in order to sort out the voices and points of view. The differences between the written and read versions are well worth experiencing. I have recommended this book and reading to all my friends. Nothing less than amazing. The way it is read gives you a preview of the inner lives, but combined with the visual text, it's astounding. I could listen to these voices forever! Amazing dialogue! You will love it and become so attached to some of the characters, you don't want it to stop.
I found it hard to listen to. The stream of consciousness style and the ultra short chapters in the latter part of the book are probably easier to digest on the page. For a while it is as if you are listening to single sentences separated by chapter numbers, rather distracting. It is one of those books that I would read at various speed, i.e. some parts of it I would linger over and others I'd flip through. Very different from Smith's other books, more experimental in form, imho. That said, I am thinking about getting it as a book from the library to see if I like it better that way.
My current listen is Augustus by Anthony Everitt.
Dunno. The book as such is probably hard to perform. That said, she did a wonderful job of switching from one dialect to the next, and made many of the characters come alive.
Characters & setting more compelling than On Beauty (it's hard to sustain that much dislike & contempt for all main characters), but plot much, much thinner.
It was really evocative, and I enjoyed the different characters' way of seeing the same place and the very different voices, but it felt like the author lost her way at the end and everyone just sort of wandered off stage left.
I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS ABOUT. I FINISHED BOOK 1 AND HATED THE BOOK. I HAD READ "WHITE TEETH" BY ZADIE SMITH AND LOVED IT. THATS WHY I ORDERED THIS BOOK. BIG MISTAKE. MAYBE YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK AND NOT LISTEN TO.
I don't think it was worth publishing.
She fails completely to convey meaning. She tries too hard with images that mean little. It is possible that the reader gets in the way of the story by interpreting things that the reader should be left to interpret. A good book does not need such an elaborate performance. The performance detracts from the book and adds nothing.
I will have to read the book myself to give an objective view. The reader was much too involved.
Filty language. story about nothing!
not unless she really improved her writing skills.all of them
all of them! Start over!!!!
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