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The first ever collection of stories from the bestselling and beloved author of Swing Time and White Teeth
'She's already one of our best novelists and essayists, this reminds us that her short stories are right up there too' Observer
'Sexy and hilarious. There is no moment in Grand Union when we are not entertained, or doubt that we are in the company of one of our best contemporary writers' Guardian
'Brilliant. Another slam dunk. Street life, patois, music, food, clothes, hair: Smith has her finger on the pulse of life and the utter weirdness of whatever has just become normal. This is a book of and for the times, sobering in its clarity but bracingly witty and clever' Evening Standard
'Smith's dialogue crackles with mordant wit. This dazzling collection of stories will leave you with plenty to think about' Independent
Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. Moving exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives, from the historic to the vividly current to the slyly dystopian, Grand Union is a sharply alert and prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, the persistent legacies that haunt our present selves and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us.
In Smith's smart and bewitching story collection, the novelist's first (after the essay collection Feel Free), the modern world is refracted in ways that are both playful and rigorous, formally experimental and socially aware. A drag queen struggles with aging in "Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets" as she misses the "fabled city of the past" now that "every soul on these streets was a stranger." A child's school worksheet spurs a humorous reassessment of storytelling itself in the postmodern "Parents' Morning Epiphany." "Two Men Arrive in a Village," in which a violent duo invades a settlement, aspires to "perfection of parable." Some stories, including "Just Right," about a family in prewar Greenwich Village, and the sci-fi "Meet the President!," in which a privileged boy meets a lower-class English girl, read more like exercises. But more surprising and rewarding are stories constructed of urban impressions and personal conversations, like "For the King," in which the narrator meets an old friend for dinner in Paris. And the standout "The Canker" uses speculative tropes to reflect on the current political situation: people live harmoniously in storyteller Esorik's island society, until the new mainland leader, the Usurper, inspires "rage" and the "breaking of all the cycles had ever known." Smith exercises her range without losing her wry, slightly cynical humor. Readers of all tastes will find something memorable in this collection.