This is a brief collection of six boundless essays. Zadie Smith will take you on a journey of reckoning, thinking. She is thinking about life in the U.S. at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, thinking about race and gender and reality and guidance. Smith moves us across the ocean in thoughts about the experiences of people scattered from Africa to the Americas and Europe and the deep disappointments of that scattering that have led to some of the most amazing art the world has. The creative spirit under the pressure of new normalcy and a necessary rejection of an old one are the heartbeats of this collection.
“A woman in her forties has lived long enough to see the dreams of childhood — hoverboards! — appear in the streets. She has lived long enough to see the social protections of her youth, which had not seemed to her dreams, but rather mundane realities — universal health care, free university education, decent public housing* — all now recast as revolutionary concepts, and thought of, in America (consistently by the right but not infrequently by the left) as badges of radical leftism. What modest dreamers we have become. *That were, in any case, imperfectly enacted in her own country — though more vigorously implemented elsewhere in Europe” (p.57-58).
HOW TO READ IT
Are you working on a long term project like a dissertation? This is a great read to get you started before your writing time. For those of you who may be practicing effectiveness through more routine days, I recommend Intimations as a component of morning ritual. Read a few pages before you head into work or hop on your first Zoom call. This book is a meditation, a daily bread that will give you plenty of freedom mind exercise for days to come.
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