NW: A Novel (Unabridged)
by Zadie Smith
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Somewhere in Northwest London stands Caldwell housing estate, relic of 70s urban planning. Five identical blocks, deliberately named: Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke, and Russell. If you grew up there, the plan was to get out and get on, to something bigger, better. Thirty years later, ex-Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan have all made it out, with varying degrees of succes - whatever that means. Living only streets apart, they occupy separate worlds and navigate an atomized city where few wish to be their neighbor's keeper. Then, one April afternoon, a stranger comes to Leah's door seeking help, disturbing the peace, and forcing Leah out of her isolation.... From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, in this delicate, devastating novel of encounters, the main streets hide the back alleys, and taking the high road can sometimes lead to a dead end. Zadie Smith's NW brilliantly depicts the modern urban zone - familiar to city dwellers everywhere - in a tragicomic novel as mercurial as the city itself.
I was completely drawn into this audiobook by "accident". It was brought along a road trip by my husband and I grumbled mightily about not wanting to hear it until it began… The reading actors are excellent, almost like listening to a play. You will be drawn into the disparate stories all converging on one moment. Whereas this narrative trick can feel forced and trite in other hands, Zadie Smith accomplishes this beautifully. I cared about each character, even the ones I thought I'd hate. It left me wanting to read more by this author. Highly recommended.
I just could not get into this audiobook. I did not care about anybody in it and the storyline was droll. It's not a long book, yet it has almost 200 chapters because many are only a few sentences. Annoying.