Regular price: $25.58

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them. Moving from Northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Two brown girls dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early 20s, never to be revisited but never quite forgotten, either....

©2016 Zadie Smith (P)2016 Penguin Books Ltd.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A good story, shame about the narrator

Zadie Smith has not disappointed. I wouldn't have imagined following a main character (the narrator) that seems so clueless about the world around her, be it her family, her boss, the African village where she spends weeks, or her erstwhile bff Tracey, but Smith manages to get us to tag along. And at the end of the story, she does seem to connect with reality at last!

What really spoiled my enjoyment was the reader, with her soporific tone. But that wasn't the worst. I just wish she'd refrained from doing accents, they just sounded so off and daft.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Margery
  • 05-17-17

Smith's best yet with perfect narrator

I choose Swing Time because all my friends were raving about it. They were right! This is a gripping, perfectly-paced read which explores our main character's challenging relationships with her mother, employer and - above all - her childhood best friend. There is a toxic dimension to all these key female relationships but Smith excels in showing the complicity and complexity of each. Bennett-Warner provides the perfect reading (especially of our insecure main character) and I hope this will be the first of many recordings for audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Patricia
  • 12-17-16

Couldn't stop reading

Loved the story, the subtlety of the characterisations and thoughtful insights into race celebrity, power of money. I think this is Zadie Smith's best book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • M. Camm
  • 12-27-16

Tailed off into a confusing narrative

Would you try another book written by Zadie Smith or narrated by Pippa Bennett-Warner?

The narration was fine.

Any additional comments?

The story jumped around a lot and I didn't find the characters likeable. Disappointing.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Laura
  • 02-21-18

A great big book!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with so many interesting characters across one woman's life it really was an interesting read from start to finish. absolutely wonderfully red especially considering all the various accents and nationalities from the characters. I would definitely listen to this again.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Pam Reed
  • 02-13-18

really enjoyed it

lovely to have a new book from zadie smith. always good to have such a clear insight into someone's world

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stephanie L
  • 11-22-17

Zadie at her best!

A host of great characters deployed with skill and a plot that kept my interest

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Alice
  • 10-22-17

Superb performance

Zadie Smith's novel absolutely brought alive by this superb reading of Swing Time. Each character distinct and memorable. Stellar work by Pippa Bennett-Warner. A terrific listening experience.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amie
  • 09-14-17

Loved the performance

This clever and funny book swept me along. Aided by the seamless shifting from voice to voice by the wonderful narration.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • emerald city
  • 09-14-17

Dazzling

What made the experience of listening to Swing Time the most enjoyable?

Pippa Bennett-Warner's engagement and understanding of the story she was telling made the flawlessness and subtlety of Zadie Smith's writing absolutely sing.

What other book might you compare Swing Time to, and why?

The changing relationship of the two girls growing into adults, and the depth, intensity and power balance of their friendship reminded me of Elena Ferranti's Neopolitan novels.

What does Pippa Bennett-Warner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Fantastic characterisation through a brilliant range of voices.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The moments when the unnamed main character realises her limits and errors.

Any additional comments?

Best audible book this year

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jo
  • 08-28-17

The narrator was brilliant

Good book, interesting comment on class and culture. Really bought to life by Pippa Bennett-Warner, she was great.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Fiona O'Connell
  • 01-29-17

Mixed feelings

Beautifully written - I love her character details, observations on human nature, family, cultural identity. However the book frequently swings back and forth in time and place which I find difficult with an audiobook. I found the early 'Tracy' period very engaging but the later Aimee/Africa period was ho-hum. The narrator was outstanding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-18-18

Great reading, okay story

The voice narrator was excellent, especially handling so many accents. The story is uneven - one half of it is great, excellent characterisation, gripping plot, but the second half of the story involving a famous dancer and social enterprise in Africa was dull and the characters felt half-fleshed. It would have been a better book without that plot line!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • carly
  • 02-15-18

Disappointing

Started of well and looked like it was going to be a good read but then went nowhere. I got so bored about 8 hours in, I gave up. Not recommended if you like an exciting read.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-10-17

Deserving Each Other.

I did not like any of the characters. Particularly the main protagonist. Great accents though.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Imogen
  • 06-01-17

incredible!

I loved it. The characters were engaging, the story is light and moves well yet is incredibly insightful and broadens the listener's horizons whilst being entertaining.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rp125
  • 05-22-17

Too much waffle

This book has some good writing ie about the central relationship between two girls. But all the long winded stuff about Africa was lost on me.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Peter W.
  • 03-25-17

Somewhat unfocussed novel, brilliant performance

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

To the right friend, definitely.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I'm thinking I should go back and read the end again. A really successful novel ends with at least a suggestion of shifting to a different level achieving the focus that was implicit through the workings of the story. I did not get this at the end of swing time but I'm wondering if it was my fault so A re-read is called for.

Which character – as performed by Pippa Bennett-Warner – was your favourite?

Tracy - frighteningly forceful, sharp, Smart and confronting, and Bennet-Warner's rendering had Tracy leaping from my device.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Most of the encounters with the main character's father, who was also extremely well captured by Bennet-Warner.

Any additional comments?

Overall I found the main character a bit depressing - always ready to be led, often bullied, and seemed to spend most of her life with bullying characters (her mother, Tracy, the dreadful Aimee). The narrator never really got my sympathy or became endearing in any way. Never seemed to find her own feet. (All this may be modified when I re-read the last couple of chapters - if so I'll come back and report the fact.)

On the other hand, ZS brilliantly captured all sorts of issues that are screaming at us in today's society - race, class, poverty, overseas aid, celebrity, the individual versus the social being - all captured in amazingly succinct fashion. For that I thank her and remain on her readers list.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Aoife
  • 02-16-17

Hard to follow on Audio

I was a little disappointed as it was quite hard to follow with all of the flicking back and forth in time.
Tracey was a fairly awful person and yet the main character still referred to her as her 'spirit sister'. It seemed inconsistent and the main character didn't really seem to have any real personality or own interests or dreams of her own.
Maybe it's better to read the paperback

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Prue Benjamin
  • 02-16-17

Wonderful but long

Would you listen to Swing Time again? Why?

Yes. Mainly because the narration was absolutely fantastic.

What did you like best about this story?

The way the narrator brought everyone in the story to life.

What about Pippa Bennett-Warner’s performance did you like?

Her different accents were flawless