Friday, August 8, 2014

Zadie Smith - Big Week

So there's a new Zadie story in the Paris Review this summer, and available online (for now), here.

At first I wasn't sure what to make of it.  The dialogue seemed a bit stilted for Zadie (particularly the bartender), the main character wasn't terribly interesting - until quite quickly he was.  And then there's an abrupt POV switch at the end and a final monologue that is simply incredible, ending the whole thing somewhere deeper and richer than I thought possible at the beginning.

Breaking it down in my head, there's really only four scenes:  (1) the bar, (2) the drive from the airport, (3) the library, (4) the move-out.  And the information you need along the way, to hook them all together, is nicely doled out in bits and pieces.  He lays out his schedule (for the "big week") in scene 1 (setting up 2-4), gives out key information in scene 2, which puts scenes 3 and 4 in context.  But the twist at the end is the killer.  Each piece seems so simple, but is so hard to do in practice..  

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