I like the way Zadie Smith has written the beginning of NW in fragments, stopping and starting like a Tube train travelling the Jubilee line, seemingly not caring if she is gripping the reader with a riveting plot or not.
As much as we talk about Smith the literary wunderkind born in Brent, she is also quite clearly a Cambridge graduate, with a clear agenda to write literature with a capital L. This is a point that is glaringly obvious but it can still divide people.
Reading NW, I found myself wondering, as I often do when reading certain novels, is this a book that will be enjoyed most deeply by other writers?
Is Smith a writer’s writer? How are Book Clubbers finding the experience of NW compared with Smith’s White Teeth? We’d never accuse Charles Dickens of being a writer’s writer.