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Publisher's Summary

The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of NW, Zadie Smith’s first novel since the best-selling On Beauty.
This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you’ll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system.
Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell’s door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation....
Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan - as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone - familiar to town-dwellers everywhere - Zadie Smith’s NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.
©2012 Zadie Smith (P)2012 Penguin Books Limited
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Critic Reviews

“This is a book written by someone who really knows how to listen, and who truly understands what people are like, and what they might become. In a hundred years time, when readers want to understand what the English novel was capable of, and what English life truly felt like, they will look at NW, and warm to it.
….like all four of Smith's wonderful novels, it relies on what always makes a novel go: a humane love of and interest in men and women, overlooked and yet worth our deepest interest. It is a joyous, optimistic, angry masterpiece, and no better English novel will be published this year, or, probably, next.” (Philip Hensher The Telegraph)
"It's a funny, perceptive, look at the muddle of modern life." ( Shortlist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By benjamin on 07-05-13

Feels like three unfinished books.

While a lot of the insight and small passages are quite good, with sharp writing and fine observations, the stories felt a bit long and never quite closed in on anything or resolved the three stories, two of which overlapped, one which was only minimally related.

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1 out of 5 stars
By mary on 06-04-13

no story

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing, it just was not for me.

What could Zadie Smith have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

her other books have had more straight forward story lines.

How could the performance have been better?

My thinking about The performance was coloured by my lack of interest in the story.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment and despair

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 07-08-14

Talented narrators bring the story to life

If you could sum up NW in three words, what would they be?

London, gritty, urban

Who was your favorite character and why?

Natalie was the most complex and well developed character.

What about Karen Bryson and Don Gilet ’s performance did you like?

They were both excellent at giving voice to the characters. It is a book about London and they perfected the accents.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?


Any additional comments?

Like White Teeth, this book could be seen as a portrait of London as much as anything. The ending is a bit of a letdown but it is still a great book, try it.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Martin on 11-24-14

Interesting, but....

What did you like most about NW?

The stories are set in NW London where I live so I actually know all the places. All the characters sound familiar to me, they would actually fit into Kilburn and Willesden, not only because of there characters but also because of the narration.

Would you recommend NW to your friends? Why or why not?

I'd only recommend it to friends who live in NW London or those who have a personal connection to the area. Otherwise they'd have a hard time to follow the story as it's actually really confusing and often I couldn't figure out what it's all about.

What about Karen Bryson and Don Gilet ’s performance did you like?

Really good and authentic narration in NW accents. Well done!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, but a book I wanted to get through in one 4-day holiday, which I did.

Any additional comments?

The book is split into different stories of individuals living in NW London, a pretty rough area of the capital. All of the stories are written in different styles and it's not always easy to follow as it takes a while to get used to a particular style. And then some of the stories are really confusing so I had a hard time to grasp what they were about.
All in all I'd say this book was an interesting experiment and it's definitely worth listening if you have a personal connection to NW London. The narrators have done a good job here, but I wouldn't recommend this book as I think it's too confusing.

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11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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