Thursday, February 12, 2009
Zadie Smith's novels haven't impressed me much. A writer with a refreshing command of dialect, and an impressive familiarity with the canon of English literature as it impinges on the imagination of a woman whose mixed race ancestry would have shoved her to the peripheries seventy years ago, Smith hasn't yet marshaled her talents in a way that signifies beyond the scope of a talent uneasily assimilating material. "Speaking in Tongues," her excellent essay in the current New York Review of Books posits a kind of multiculturalism that sees its apogee in a certain politican who synthesizes Pygmalion, Cary Grant, and black patois. As usual with me, I don't want to believe it's true.
Posted by Alfred Soto at 9:50 PM