13 January 2020

A Tedious Read

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed White Teeth I had high hopes for this. The prologue hinted of a good story. The opening line reads “It was the first day of my humiliation. Put on a plane, sent back home to England". And towards the end of the prologue a sentence which read  "Now everyone knows who you really are” Ooh I thought, this is going to be good.

The narrator and Tracey dream of becoming dancers. They meet at a junior dance class and instantly become friends in that they are the only brown girls in the class and they share a passion for old musicals. Tracey has talent, our narrator doesn’t, but she does have a beautiful singing voice. A good start which I thought would move on to a story about a lasting friendship and the ups and downs of their joint struggles to achieve their goals. WRONG, it was 453 pages of nothing. The narrator is not given a name because she isn’t much of a character in her own right, she seems content to be what those around her want her to be, subservient to her mother, a doormat for the bitchy Tracey and Tracey’s horrible mother and just another name on the payroll for Aimee (Who I think was based on Madonna).

I ploughed on thinking "The prologue hinted of something good, when is it going to start?" It didn't, it was disjointed and confusing in places with obscure time jumps. The constant toing and froing to Africa and the narrator’s thoughts whilst there became boring - unless you're interested in the economic and political history of Africa. Some parts of the book were interesting: the narrator’s mothers’ determination to make a niche for herself as a black woman in politics in the 70’s; and the author's exploration of how rich people throw money at causes with little thought to if and how it helps.

Very disappointing.

Be warm and well ~ 

Polly x

10 comments:

  1. Such a shame the book didn't come up to expectation, disappointing.

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    1. It is, especially as White Teeth was so good.

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  2. Like you Polly, I usually read the first few pages of a book, to determine if it can hold my attention and is worth my time. This method usually works, however there have been a few where a story will start out promising and then just lost it along the way. I would keep reading, hoping for it to pick up again, and usually it does but if it didn't, I would just throw the book away without finishing it so that no one else was made to suffer through the same thing I did!
    I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through A DUD, but thanks for the Heads Up! :D

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    1. I don't like giving up on books, and parts of this were interesting but I do give up if I can't get into the plot or if I don't like the characters.

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  3. It's so disappointing to get through 445 pages of nothing, and quite sure along the way it will change. Thanks for the non-recommendation! I have enough books on the list (I just did my last year's book post!) without adding this!

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    1. It was like that Jeanie, I was so sure it would suddenly change.

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  4. I enjoyed White Teeth but was disappointed by her later books. I think her reputation is way ahead of her abilities as a novelist. Maybe she'll get into her stride again.

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    1. I think quite a few people are of the same opinion.

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  5. She is a good writer, hopefully the next one will be better. Thanks for the warning, Polly :-)
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Hi Amalia, I agree, this was well written but just not interesting x

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