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Zadie Smith

Intimations : Six Essays

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"Smith does more than illuminate what we're going through right now. She offers a model of how to think ourselves through a fraught historical moment without getting hysterical or sanctimonious, without losing our compassion or our appreciation for what's good in other people. She teaches us how to be better at being human." --John Powers, Fresh Air

Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of reflective essays by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time. Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality--or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us? How do we think about them? What is the ratio of contempt to compassion in a crisis? When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it? Suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these extraordinary times, Intimations is a slim, suggestive volume with a wide scope, in which Zadie Smith clears a generous space for thought, open enough for each reader to reflect on what has happened--and what should come next. The author will donate her royalties from the sale of Intimations to charity.

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time, as well as a novella, The Embassy of Cambodia, and two collections of essays, Changing My Mind and Feel Free. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. Zadie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002, and was listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013. White Teeth won multiple literary awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and NW was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Lean and powerful--the collection is less than 100 pages--like pencil sketches that capture a scene or a figure in a few brief masterly strokes. When we do look back on this period, these are among the essays we will turn to . . . These essays explore, wonder, argue and prod. The pleasure of reading them lies not in receiving experience in a finished mold, but in joining Ms. Smith as she takes our shared bewilderment and begins to pour."--Wall Street Journal

"While quarantined amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Smith penned six dazzling, trenchant essays burrowing deep into our contemporary culture of disease and upheaval and reflecting on what was 'once necessary' that now 'appears inessential'--as well as on banana bread, pedicures, and tulips." --O, The Oprah Magazine, Best Books of 2020

There are six essays in [Smith's] new collection, which capture the pandemic moment we've been living in with a clarity that only Zadie Smith could unearth in the middle of a pandemic. Even when she's pushing you to see your own complicity, it's comforting to have her voice helping you make sense of the world." --GOOP

In just under 100 pages, Smith intimately captures the profundity of our current historical moment. Quietly powerful, deftly crafted essays bear witness to the contagion of suffering." --Kirkus, starred review