Penguin £9.99 (308pp) £9.49 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Changing My Mind, By Zadie Smith
Friday 26 August 2011
This choice of her occasional essays displays the best of Smith as critic, memoirist and all-round wrangler with arts and ideas. She emerges as thoughtful but never pompous, agile but never glib, witty but never cruel, with heart and head sweetly aligned.
A bran-tub stuffed with sweets, the collection ranges from ebullient interpretations of favourite classics (EM Forster to David Foster Wallace) and heartfelt but delightful family memoirs to the odd travel piece (from Liberian poverty to Hollywood excess) - even a sheaf of high-spirited film reviews.
Among the stand-out performances are a trio of lovely, elegiac pieces on her dad Harvey, D-Day veteran and Tony Hancock fan, and (related) excursions into the bittersweet art of comedy as a sort of British cultural DNA.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
- 2 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 5 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
Britain's first cinema flickers back to life following £6m refurbishment
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC exit
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'