By Zadie Smith
Penguin, 401 pp.
Zadie Smith’s most recent novel, NW returns to the streets of NW London. This is the setting of her first novel and where she has lived most of her life, which she populates with characters whose colloquial British English differs greatly from her prose in diction, but not in rhythm. Her most stylistically ambitious novel, NW makes widespread use of unattributed dialogue and free, indirect speech to make the similarities in her prose more apparent. As self-described “sentimental humanist”, she does not shy away from the fact that she was born to these streets herself, not trying to hide her personal connection.