I never recoiled, in that first season, to hear the nice people on the bus say “beautiful baby,” to us in reverent tones. It’s a thanksgiving for safe passage, a prayer for all new defenseless things. But after a few months have passed … faint suggestions of the adult visage emerge.
Posts Tagged: zadie smith
Of course Zadie Smith’s written a science fiction epic, set on September 11, 2001, chronicling the haphazard relationship between Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor. And of course it’s based on a true story, or at least an urban myth, supported by textual evidence, that she just felt the need to fill in the details of....more
The two men are physically incongruous. Key is tall, light brown, dashingly high-cheek-boned, and L.A. fit; Peele is shorter, darker, more rounded, cute like a Teddy bear. Peele, who is thirty-five, wears a nineties slacker uniform of sneakers, hoodie, and hipster specs.
As the story goes, nearly 100 years ago a group of Surrealist artists gathered together and put a new spin on an old parlor game called Consequences. The meeting resulted in their collective authorship of this phrase: “The/ exquisite/ corpse/ will/ drink/ the/ young/ wine.” Now familiar to many writers by the name of “Exquisite Corpse,” the game requires at least three participants who send round a single sheet of paper on which each member, looking only at the entry that came before him or her, makes a written or drawn contribution, folds over the paper, and passes it on to the next person....more
The mad men know that we know the Soho being referenced here: the Soho of Roy Lichtenstein and Ivan Karp, the Soho that came before Foot Locker, Sephora, Prada, frozen yogurt. That Soho no longer exists, of course, but it’s part of the reason we’re all here, crowded on this narrow strip of a narrow island.
Let’s dedicate this week to the publications, editors, and benevolent marketing gurus who unleashed a whole bunch of quality FREE short fiction to us. Under the shadow of the FCC’s impending decision as to whether or not net neutrality will continue, these all-you-can-read buffets taste even sweeter....more
In a recently tweeted series of amateur photos, artist and writer Szilvia Molnar satirizes the figure of the cool male writer so often conveyed in author portraits by the presence of a cigarette. Having noticed a discrepancy between the portrayal of Karl Ove Knausgaard and Zadie Smith in promotional photos for a publishing event, Molnar took it upon herself to reveal the manufactured ridiculousness of the serious cool-guy image with selfies that can’t possibly be taken seriously....more
In the latest installment of Little, Brown’s “Ask a Debut Novelist,” Ted Thompson addresses the anxieties that spring eternal from the minds of new writers, perfectionism and the specter of Zadie Smith’s superior talent among them. While quality is certainly a worthy pursuit in writing, Thompson advocates a simpler and often more fruitful goal: say what you’re going to say with the best words you can think of to say it....more
Karl Ove Knausgaard, the handsome Norwegian writer, is traveling through the U.S. giving talks and readings and interviews. It’s as good a time as any to start reading his 6-part autobiography, My Struggle, especially if you are a writer. As the New York Times reports, Knausgaard’s American counterparts are all raving about this writer—Jeffrey Eugenides, Lorin Stein, Sheila Heti, Zadie Smith, and others are caught up in the brilliance of Knausgaard:
Why has My Struggle so excited the literary world?
Two weeks ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith sat down at the Schomburg Center to chat about Adichie’s glorious novel, Americanah (and literature, race, gender, and love!). Their conversation was smart and incisive, with a lot of laughing—but if you missed it, you can watch the talk here....more
Saturday 11/9: The Comic Arts Festival features guest speakers, indie publishers, and self-published comic zines. Mt. Carmel Church -and- The Knitting Factory, 11am to 7pm, free....more
Tuesday 10/29: The Moth comes to The Booksmith, featuring an opening story from writer and Moth podcast host Dan Kennedy....more
What were/are you doing in your twenties?
If you’re F. Scott Fitzgerald or Zadie Smith, you were publishing groundbreaking novels. If you’re Jack London, you were losing teeth from scurvy in Alaska, which, you know, good for him....more
On an unseasonably warm day in October, I was invited to participate in The Happy Ending Reading and Music Series...more
The fat sun stalls by the phone masts.
This is how Zadie Smith opens her latest novel, NW, and how appropriate–that something so fiery and core-hot, so screaming and universal could appear dumbfounded, loafing, stagnant.
Meet North West London, a relative dystopia from those adolescent promises that London made Smith’s crew of characters....more
“Pencil leaves no mark on magazine pages. Somewhere she has read that the gloss gives you cancer. Everyone knows it shouldn’t be this hot. Shrivelled blossom and bitter little apples. Birds singing the wrong tunes in the wrong trees too early in the year....more
“A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.”
How do we value libraries? Novelist Zadie Smith writes an essay about the imminent closure of her local library, articulating the roles libraries serve beyond their utilitarian functions, and the political implications of their dismissal....more
I was ten years old when 1999 became 2000. My knowledge of the Y2K problem was vague; I could only glean a nebulous mood of panic from overheard newscasts and conversations between adults. My own parents did not seem worried. We went to New Year’s Eve festivities at a family friend’s house....more
Zadie Smith discusses the gap between the ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ world, as well as the need to bridge “the language of development and the language of the rest of us.” The recognition of that disparity led to the creation of Writers Bloc, which seeks to insert novelists into the conversation around universal education....more
Great Britain is making its own lists. And Great Britain is still publishing novels.
If you believe the rumors, the raging historical narratives are printed by hand, folded into folios, carried from London’s dust into the countryside in the talons of birds that never made it across the Atlantic, placed on a round table in the middle of Sherwood Forest, then torn open by the teeth of hunting dogs....more
In her essay “Speaking in Tongues” in The New York Review of Books, February 26, 2009, Zadie Smith examines Barack Obama’s doubleness, not just his biracial genetic history but how he inhabits multiple voices. She reviews his first book Dreams From My Father and sees him as an artist as much as a politician, but Smith warns: “For reasons that are obscure to me, those qualities we cherish in our artists we condemn in our politicians....more