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Zadie Smith—a collection that frustrates as much as it delights

Smith's experimentation sometimes goes wrong—especially when she's writing about rap

By Josie Mitchell   November 2019
Zadie Smith by Dominique Nabokov

Zadie Smith by Dominique Nabokov

This summer Zadie Smith wrote about the British rapper Stormzy’s performance at Glastonbury. “The one the people call Stormzy,” she wrote in cod-medieval dialect, is a “cocky young bwoy,” king of “the kingdom of Grime.” She does it again in her new story collection: “And lo! I was in awe. To heareth the mode in which Dead Prez doth breaketh it down, economically.” Smith can write some truly cringeworthy prose, especially about rap.

Or perhaps she’s just trying something out. One…

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