Literary Gut Punch: From Zadie Smith's Swing Time


I'm two-thirds of the way through Zadie Smith's new novel Swing Time, which may be the best exploration of female friendship and motherhood I've ever read. In typical Smith fashion, there are shimmery jewels of prose and dialogue glinting from every page. One of my favourite characters in the book is the unnamed protagonist's father, a man who cannot help but love a woman who does not respect his mind, and who adores the duties imposed on a good parent. This statement, made by the protagonist about her father, felt like a knee to the heart:

The thing I feared was no longer my parents' authority over me but that they might haul out into the open their own intimate fears, their melancholy and regrets.