Some books that you nuzzle in to of a Sunday afternoon read like long-form poetry. It almost wouldn’t matter where the narrative took you, because the words are just so darn pretty. Other books are so thickly plot- or character-driven that you’re instantly lost in the story. NW by Zadie Smith does both: its beautifully rhythmic language combines with characters you want to get to know, and a plot that pulls you along with ease.
I picked up this book because (1) I’m a big fan of this uber talented woman, and (2) I’m currently working in NW (North-West London). On my short walk to-and-from the train station to my workplace each day, I have so far failed to comprehend a grander idea of NW and its interesting inhabitants. But, having read NW – my tears falling on the pages from the sad realisation that I’ll never be able to write like Ms Smith – I gained a strong sense of this pocket of London, and the types of people I might find behind close doors. Read it and weep, people.