Author: Zadie Smith
Genre: Literary Fiction
This is my very first Zadie Smith novel and she did not disappoint. I mean, Zadie Smith definitely knows how to write and it’s one of the most interesting and insightful aspects of this book. The way she crafts emotion and the scope of human experience with such humor but also beauty and wit with a touch of irony is beyond amazing.
In essence, this story is a family saga about Archie and Samad and their families throughout World War II and all the way up to the 90’s. All of these characters are rich and well-developed that they feel like 3-D characters. But because they are so fleshed out, I felt like some of the characters lost a lot of their time in the spotlight especially Claire, Archie’s wife. If you’re someone who needs a definitive plot, this book might not be for you because it touches more on specific moments in these character’s lives like when Archie decides to commit suicide (not a spoiler, it’s in the summary lol). This is also a slow-burning book, I’ll admit that the first chapter was a little off putting because I wasn’t following a definitive beginning, middle, and end but once I got used to that, I wanted to keep reading. I also never realized how much humor this book would have. She just has the perfect balance of humor and seriousness.
Throughout these character’s experiences, Smith gives commentary on so many topics including faith, religion, gender, and immigration. Smith is so adept at seeing the beauty and despair of human life but she also captures the absurdity of it with such clarity and humor that you can’t help but laugh at how unpredictable life can be.