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Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of essays on the experience of lockdown, by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time
From the critically acclaimed author of Feel Free, Swing Time, White Teeth and many more
'There will be many books written about the year 2020: historical, analytic, political and comprehensive accounts. This is not any of those - the year isn't half-way done. What I've tried to do is organize some of the feelings and thoughts that events, so far, have provoked in me, in those scraps of time the year itself has allowed. These are above all personal essays: small by definition, short by necessity.'
Crafted with the sharp intelligence, wit and style that have won Zadie Smith millions of fans, and suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these unprecedented times, Intimations is a vital work of art, a gesture of connection and an act of love - an essential book in extraordinary times.
In this incisive and insightful collection, Smith (Grand Union) ruminates on the pandemic, racial injustice, and the writer's role in a time of social upheaval. The collection begins with "Peonies," in which a memory of admiring flowers in a community garden sparks reflections on the female body. In "The American Experience," Smith blasts Donald Trump's pandemic response and considers how the crisis has undermined ideas of American exceptionalism. "Something to Do," the most substantial piece, reflects on doing creative work during quarantine and how her own life of "executing self-conceived schedules: teaching day, reading day, writing day, repeat" was upended by having family at home. In "Screengrabs," she briefly profiles familiar faces around her neighborhood, including a man Smith fans will recognize from a story in her Grand Union collection and a woman who is the "ideal city dweller" and cultivates "community without overly sentimentalizing the concept." In a postscript to this essay, Smith skillfully demonstrates how the pandemic and police brutality constitute two sides of the same coin for Black Americans. Smith is at her perceptive and precise best in this slim but thematically weighty volume of personal and civil reckoning.