Saturday, September 03, 2005

There's a great piece about Zadie Smith

in the Guardian Review--the interviewer did a really good job getting her to be so forthcoming. My favorite part (i.e. the part where she says something I completely agree with...) is where she says how pleased she was to learn that writers are "'so like their books. And that really blew me away. It also released my criticism because you realise that it's the full man who's writing. The faults he makes in his prose are often the faults he makes in his life.'" Also an odd observation from the novelist Lisa Appagnanesi, mother of one of ZS's friends at university: Appignanesi says that Smith is "very beautiful to look at. That's changed. She wasn't always. She has worked at turning herself into this beautiful young woman. I see that as another tribute to her, a kind of overcoming. The will to transform things - she can transform base matter to make literature, she has transformed herself." I don't know--I remember the awful contrast between the author photo on her first book and the second one, the first one is SO much more appealing to me (and to all of the friends I remember discussing it with at the time), really much more beautiful in a way (can't seem to find a link, sorry). The phrase "base matter" is pretty tactless! But of course if Zadie Smith wants to be a glamour-queen, it's her prerogative, I don't mean to criticize. I am looking forward to reading On Beauty; I liked White Teeth a lot, though I'm afraid I didn't read The Autograph Man (had it from the public library, read the first couple chapters, then it was due back and somehow I never quite bothered to get it again--I'm rather afraid it's that kind of a book. Not bad, but not gripping either).

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