Zadie Smith

5 Feb

There are some authors/books out there that get tons of critical praise, that get tons of attention for being absolutely brilliant and inventive — that I just CANNOT get into. The Corrections was one of those books. Zadie Smith is one of those authors. I tried to read White Teeth when it first came out in paperback, and just couldn’t get past the first 50 pages. Then I picked it up again a year or so ago, and again, didn’t get past 50 pages. I even bought On Beauty, hoping to give it a second go. I totally appreciate that some people really dig her — she certainly has a loyal following, and I don’t doubt that it’s for good reason. For me though, it’s been a complicated relationship. Smith is one of those authors that makes me feel too dumb to appreciate. It’s the same part of my brain that wonders why I enjoy Dan Brown and the Twilight series. Do I just not have the brain power to appreciate something beyond my comfort zone?

People have different tastes, for sure — I hate most things post-modern in nature, and I don’t really “get” a lot of genre fiction, like sci fi or romance. But when a blogger who’s opinion you admire and respect  pledges devotion to an author I can’t really get into, I have to at least give her another shot.

Greg over at The New Dork Review of Books is giving away a copy of Zadie Smith’s Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays and I feel like maybe I should give her another shot. Maybe her essays will be what I enjoy, instead of her fiction. So I’m entering, and crossing my fingers that my mind is changed. Cause there’s nothing better than discovering that your tastes, and your smarts, are not as limited as you feared.

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One Response to “Zadie Smith”

  1. Greg Zimmerman February 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    Not that I’m trying to talk you in to giving White Teeth one more shot (not…at…all!), but I just looked back at my notes after I finished the book (in 2005 – holy crap, that seems like a long time ago!), and 2005 Greg had a lot of trouble getting into the book too. In fact, 2005 Greg says he didn’t really start enjoying it until past pg. 100 – and then it really took off!

    Thanks for the linkage, again!

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