Zadie Smith, Swing Time

Beatriz Perez Zapata (University of the Balearic Islands)
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Swing Time

(2016) arrived surrounded by the halo of music, dance, and stardom, and it delivered a new form of narrating some of Zadie Smith’s most pressing concerns. The title of the novel refers to the eponymous musical (Stevens 1936) and, as Jeffrey Eugenides (2016) points out, it is also a hint to Smith’s preoccupation with time, which she had also explored in her previous novel,


(2012). Equally present are the topics of female friendship, the relationship with one’s past, and the pervasiveness and insidiousness of colonialism. Even though the novel covers familiar ground,

Swing Time

came with a twist: it was the first time Smith wrote in the first person. In the interviews following the publication of the novel, she expressed some reservations about writing in the first…

2615 words

Citation: Perez Zapata, Beatriz. "Swing Time". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 April 2019 [, accessed 16 July 2024.]

35797 Swing Time 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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