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Zadie Smith torna a raccontare l'amicizia assoluta e inquieta tra adolescenti, il mondo dei sobborghi multiculturali, l'attrazione perturbante per coloro che sono animati da un talento e nascondono un segreto. La danza in queste pagine diventa la scrittura stessa di Zadie Smith, che ha grazia naturale, non perde mai il ritmo e sa raccontare con affilata precisione le ambizioni e le ingiustizie sociali, i desideri degli adolescenti e i sogni della nostra epoca.
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Avevo letto Denti Bianchi nell'anno della pubblicazione e l'avevo trovato bellissimo. Anche questa volta l'autrice è riuscita ad affascinarmi. Volevo che non finisse mai. L'incastro tra presente e passato della storia, le culture occidentale ed africana, i personaggi, le loro storie, è tutto appassionante.
Il libro è ben scritto e l'autrice mostra nuovamente di saper cogliere il senso profondo di alcune situazioni e di specifici personaggi. Tuttavia al termine della lettura ho accusato un senso di vuoto e di totale insoddisfazione. La protagonista, a mio avviso, risulta completamente priva di personalità e non pare evolversi minimamente nel corso della storia. Rimane per tutto il tempo aggrappata alla figura della fantomatica amica Tracey e a una serie di donne assolutamente anaffettive ed egoiste / a partire dalla madre/, dalle quale non riesce a emanciparsi. Anche la trama risulta troppo dispersiva e priva di un reale filo conduttore. Se non fosse per l' abilità nello scrivere della Smith, valutarei questo romanzo come molto deludente e un po' pretenzioso.
Magnificamente scritto, come tradizione dell'autrice, ma con troppe direzioni: è l'autobiografia della sua infanzia londinese? E' un romanzo a chiave che vuole svelarci i traffici di Madonna in Africa? E' una storia d'amicizia genere Storia di chi fugge e di chi resta? Nella parte finale, in particolare, sembra che il romanzo non sappia dove andare.
4,0 su 5 stelleA light dance over the complex topography of female experience and racial identity.
DaLucy Unwinil 16 novembre 2016 - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Great dancers make the most complicated moves look effortless, and great writers have you swinging through their work like a dance.
Zadie Smith skips easily from London, to New York, to West Africa in her latest novel, without missing a beat. She tells the stories of myriad women, through the eyes of just one, with so light a touch you barely even notice. In fact, I’d finished reading before I realised we don’t even know her name.
Dance is the focus of the two girls central to this story: our unnamed narrator and her childhood best friend Tracey meet at a class in the church adjoining their estates. While one follows her talent to the stage, in the other, the lack of dance feels like a constant pressure waiting to burst out. Our narrator ends up in a different part of the entertainment world. As a personal assistant to a Madonna-like character, she tends to her needs as she travels the world, and follows through on her charitable plans to set up a girls’ school in a West African village.
It’s an odd mix of subjects. That skip Zadie does - from childhood besties learning about and testing out loyalty, to the glib demands of a celebrity, to an intriguing and fresh depiction of Muslim life in an African village - it sounds weird when you describe it, but it seems so natural when you’re reading.
Perhaps because the central subject doesn’t change. And it’s not dance, it’s simply women. Mothers, daughters, childless, trapped, free, vindictive, powerful, empowered, weak, naive, loyal, friends, frenemies, employers, politicians and subjects. Every shade of female experience under the sun. And every shade of skin.
Unsurprisingly, given Zadie Smith’s previous work, it’s about women, and also about race. Skin colour matters, if only because it matters to our narrator - the key relationship of her life is based entirely on matching skin tones, and her emotional crises are magnified through the lens of race. Africa, culture, cultural appropriation, history, the point where sex intercepts with race, the point where skin colour means a talented dancer is most likely to show up on stage in Showboat. All these are covered.
It’s not surprising then, given the two central subjects, that this is a subtle and complex work. But the delight of it wasn’t in the heaviness of the subjects Zadie dances over, but the lightness with which it’s done. The frivolous but vivid details of growing up in the 80s - the Thriller video and Back to the Future on VHS - spark a comfortable nostalgia. For me too, the details of both North West London and the music industry are delightfully familiar, as are, for everyone I’m sure, the aims and lives of the charitable celebrity and the emotionally fraught path of school-time friendships.
Strangely, by the end, I felt I knew too what it would be like to stumble around after dark in an African village, the lights failed by the shonky generator, but mobile phone screens casting a blue glow. Basic huts adorned by carefully rendered paintings of the Manchester United logo.
The skill, to me, in Zadie’s misdirecting steps is to make the alien feel as comforting and familiar as the places - physical and emotional - that you already hold dear, and to do so while you’re completely swept up in her dance.
DaA Readeril 24 novembre 2016 - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
I keep reading Zadie Smith thinking I must be missing something. Everyone proclaims her a literary superstar, but I've always found something lacking in her novels. In the beginning I found her to be undisciplined, unfocused, in strong need of an editor. She gave me a headache. Now I think the problem, at least for me, is that she lacks depth, although it seems on the surface as if she's writing about deep issues. In her latest revisit to NW London, her sense of place is indelible, but I found the drawn out story of an on-again-off-again friendship, and a subsequent friendship with a rock star, not at all convincing. In particular, the character of Aimee, the rock star, feels false. I didn't buy that relationship at all. Adding an EDIT here, as I think about this some more: one big problem is that I think Smith skates over characterizations without doing deeper work. The whole book is predicated on the idea of dance as a metaphor, but as someone who knows something about dance I found the writing absolutely lacking in anything resembling truth. The girls watch videos and talk very vaguely about dance, but there's nothing from Smith about their bodies, nothing about movement, nothing about discipline or pain or pleasure of dancing, no true description of what it really means to be a dancer. Just fake-sounding talk. Did she do any research at all on this subject? Equally, the references to old movies feel like that's all they are: references from research, titles, a bit of color laid in, nothing more. Smith clearly doesn't know what it means to be a singer. We get nothing of Aimee's music, nothing about who she is as a musician, nothing about a life dedicated to music, only a false conflation of Madonna and someone else maybe? And possibly the worst thing is the friendship Smith begins with, something that seems profound between two needy children, gets completely lost as she moves on. What happened to Tracey, exactly? Why did she go off the rails? What is wrong with her? She sketches what might have been the most interesting character without any completion, which is frustrating for the reader. Occasionally Smith's insight into someone's nature is described beautifully, with beautiful, lyrical language, especially scenes set in Africa (the most authentic scenes in the book), and I'd think, oh here it is, the high caliber talent that won Smith her accolades. But that feeling would slip away as I read on, as it always seems to do.
DaP. Boltonil 10 giugno 2017 - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
I am a big Zadie Smith fan and found her descriptions and observations about class, race, life in general, celebrity, and life in particular to be fascinating. The overall story meanders and many of the auxiliary characters (Granger, Lamin, mom......) are only sketched, though they are not stereotypes. Definitely recommended and I'll probably read it again in a couple of years. Not quite 'White Teeth' or 'On Beauty' quality but then not much is.
2,0 su 5 stelleI am glad I finished it but boy I want to trust ...
DaNKail 3 luglio 2017 - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
I am glad I finished it but boy I want to trust other readers that other books from Ms. Smith are better. Good writing for me has great rhythm to sentences and chapters. I don't know how writers of old used to do it with a quill or pen and I always marvel at writing that is capable of achieving such high standard (an interesting story first, obviously). This book did not meet any of the requirements. No rhythm. No wonder all the characters asked of us first to believe were worth our attention turned out to be half invested in their lives or perhaps the writer did not manage to convince me otherwise. Bringing some of the characters into the story left me wondering the author's goal, like with Lamin, Fernando or Hawa. Their stories then ended abruptly which made me think the main character was not quite honest in her retelling even though she transmitted plenty of self guilt and low self esteem throughout the book.
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