When NW showed up in my mailbox, a lot of people told me they were excited about it because they love Zadie Smith’s work, so I was eager to give her latest book a try. NW features four young people living in the northwest section of London. They all grew up in the same council estate and are trying to figure out how to live their lives as adults in London.
Since the story is told in snippets of stories and stream of consciousness thoughts inside the characters heads, I had trouble discerning any plot. I finally figured out that this is a non-traditional novel that is more about the pulse of the city than anything else. To be honest, I struggled with it – I had trouble following what was going on and as soon as I did, it seemed like things went in a different direction. This book wasn’t really for me but I’ve read several reviews that have declared it brilliant – I do think it’s for the more sophisticated reader and I suspect I didn’t understand many of the nuances of the story.
I listened to the audio version of NW and, even though I wasn’t crazy about it, I thought the narration was outstanding. It’s narrated by Don Gilet and Karen Bryson and I thought they both did a fantastic job – I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to either of them again. The audio is on 9 CDs and lasts approximately 11 hours.