cover image NW


Zadie Smith, read by Don Gilet and Karen Bryson. Penguin Audio, unabridged, nine CDs 11 hrs., $39.95 ISBN 978-1-61176-115-3

In the hands of Smith, Northwest London—the postcode area that gives her fourth novel its title—is more than just a setting: told in shifting perspectives of its lifelong residents, NW becomes a character in its own right. Working class, downtrodden, with an undercurrent of hopelessness and violence, this borough of London is home to Leah, Felix, Natalie, and Nathan, Smith’s four focal characters, each one facing a conflict of identity. So many of the societal and class differences in NW are shown through nuances of voice, diction, and accent. And in this audio edition, narrators Don Gilet and Karen Bryson excel, capturing the subtleties of the many fluid dialectics in Northwest London spoken by immigrants and natives alike. The strong performances of and seamless interplay between Gilet and Bryson deftly capture the gritty day-to-day life of NW. A Penguin hardcover. (Sept.)