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.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate