by Zadie Smith.
This series of essays is cobbled together from a number of projects Zadie Smith has done. They are loosely grouped into themes, the themes loosely group into a book, but more I found it just a dipping into Zadie Smith’s mind, which is my favorite thing about essays. She writes about an Oxfam trip to Liberia, about movies, about Middlemarch and Kafka and E. M. Forster, about Barthes v Nabokov, about Zora Neale Hurston, on Hepburn and the Oscars and her father and David Foster Wallace.
The stories about her father, especially on how her interviewing of her father about WWII was so clearly about her and not him, how she used his stories in White Teeth, to learn more about Zadie Smith’s history and see how it trickled into her writing was interesting and rewarding from a writer’s perspective. I want to dig into some of these essays again, the personal ones, to learn a little more about the craft of those essays.
I also want to reread her essay on Wallace, who I love, such that I can better articulate what I love about him. First, though, I think I need to read Brief Interviews, the Wallace book of short stories she talks about.
Overall a good read with some essays I want to return to.