Sunday, 3 September 2017

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

"It seemed wrong for Goths to kiss so we bit gently at each other's necks like little vampires."

Childhood friendships are fraught. So much shared experience and yet so many opportunities to grow apart. Zadie Smith's latest novel certainly captures that aspect of the difficulties of a lasting friendship between childhood best friends, particularly where their social circumstances are particularly different. There are many aspects of growing up that Smith captures with insight, and that made for an engaging read.

It is difficult for our heroine to deal with the eminently talented and early blooming status of her friend Tracey and indeed their lives will play out rather differently. There are so many stories going on here that I occasionally got a little bewildered. I'm sure it wasn't the fact I was reading this poolside on holidays - surely not.

I wanted to love this a little more than I did.  The Madonna in Malawi like antics of Aimee, the protagonist's pop star boss, were vastly entertaining. Notwithstanding, the momentum seemed to hit a kind of lull three quarters through the novel and it felt slightly anti-climactic.

4 out of 5 dance moves will have you swinging like you're winning.

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