Paperbacks: The Book of Other People, Ed. Zadie Smith

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The Independent Culture

Fund-raising anthologies can be strange beasts. Editing a collection of stories to raise money for the children's charity 836 NYC, Zadie Smith has called on 22 other authors, almost as hip and talented as herself, to contribute a story about "character".

The results are as diverse as you might expect, though many entries feature protagonists at the more monstrous end of the spectrum. Graphic novelist Daniel Clowes has an entertaining strip about a navel-gazing film critic; George Saunders's "Puppy" features a pair of dominating mothers; while Dave Eggers opts for a mythical tale of stone-splitting giants. Illustrious female contributors include AL Kennedy, AM Holmes and, of course, Smith herself, who supplies a well-turned story of an anti-climatic father-and-son reunion.