This novel is an incredible depiction of friendship; of differences and similarities, competition and support. It begins in London at a dance class where two girls come together through their aspiration to be dancers and similarities in skin colour.
It’s a bold book that covers race and class, poverty and the rich, mixing each world together with tremendous ease. Smith captures the unique pull of Africa, the sense of community and spirit that embodies the narrative, in contrast to the bright lights of New York and London. There’s a feeling of authenticity in her writing, a world totally believable and accessible to anyone who opens the page.
The novel is able to explore friendship with accuracy, something that not many narratives tackle. It’s a relationship that is often tried and tested, and the separation that follows is difficult to overcome; when two very different paths are chosen, it’s hard for them to merge together once more.
This may have been the first Zadie Smith novel I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be the last.