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A Far Ranging, Invigorating And Irrepressible Collection Of Essays On Literature, Cinema, Art And Everything In Between From The MAN BOOKER PRIZE And WOMEN S PRIZE SHORTLISTED Author Of Feel Free And Swing Time Alarmingly Good MetroStriding With Open Hearted Zest And Eloquence Between Fiction From EM Forster To David Foster Wallace And Travel, Movies And Comedy, Family And Community In A Self Portrait That Charts The Evolution Of A Formidable Talent Independent Supremely Good Smith Writes With Such Infectious Zeal And Engaging Accessibility That It Makes You Want To Turn Up At Her House And Demand Tutoring DazedBrilliant Vogue


3 thoughts on “Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

  1. says:

    I m a big fan of Zadie Smith s novels, and thought she would be an interesting essayist By and large my expectations were met I really enjoyed parts of the book I enjoyed her socio political writing, in One Week in Liberia , her diary of a week spent in Liberia for Oxfam, and Speaking in Tongues , an essay on race and dialect I also enjoyed her personal stories of her family and especially her father, in the Feeling section of the book, especially Dead Man Laughing And I enjoyed her movie reviews as well as her account of Oscar weekend The parts of the book I enjoyed less were those where she delves into literary theory, where her invocations of ideas from critical theory and philosophy feel extremely elliptical and vague, as well as not finding a distinctive or original voice of her own so clearly as in her other writing The sweeping scope of the intellectual references may seem erudite to some, but their treatment is perhaps inevitably in a collection of essays like this rather superficial, and that frustrated me For example, Smith brings up numerous times the postmodernist idea that language does not describe reality, without really doing anything to explain or motivate such a claim The weaving together of for example Eliot and Spinoza feels a little studied and forced Still, there is a lot to enjoy here, and even the sections on literature did inspire me to read some of her heroes she communicates enthusiasm and passion for the literature she loves beautifully Overall, I recommend this to fans of Smith as well as those who enjoy good journalistic writing of a middle to high brow, non specialist sort.


  2. says:

    I went on a tear through Zadie Smith s novels last year, starting with White Teeth and moving thru her work over the months She is easily one of my new favorite writers, and so when I saw this essay collection on having read her most recent essay collection, Feel Free, earlier , I had to have it Changing My Mind is a far reaching collection of essays, some literary, some cinematic, others dealing with other aspects of art, but all deeply personal on one level or another It is a collection that rewards close reading and casual skimming alike When you re reading the work of a great author, she can make you care about things you never would have without her prose to guide you But the essays about shared interest are perhaps even better to see something that you re enthusiastic about like, say, David Foster Wallace get validation through the work of a great essayist is something you can t beat.Zadie Smith is a master of fiction, because she has enormous empathy for her characters and a gift for depicting even the most mundane moments in their lives She brings that gift to her reading, cinema watching, and shared love of comedy with her father easily the most moving essay is the one about her father s terminal illness and their shared love of British comedy This is a collection of essays as moving as a great novel.


  3. says:

    Changing My Mind is a collection of essays from the novelist Zadie Smith Anyone who has read her fiction knows that Ms Smith is an engaging, intelligent, and passionate writer, so it seems she should be a natural as an essayist This collection proves that theory to be true.The selections here cover a broad range of topics, from trips she took to Liberia and the Oscars not at the same time to three funny and touching essays about her family But it is her writings on art that really shine She shows great insight into the writings of Forster, Eliot, Barthes, Nabokov, and Kafka in fact, I think the first seven essays are required reading for any aspiring writer But she also brings a keen eye to cinema, with a wonderful essay about Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo, and even stand up comedy in an essay about her younger brother s surprisingly to her successful foray into that field.I read one essay each morning, and after the first one I woke up every day excited about reading the next That is probably the best endorsement I can give this book But Ms Smith has also inspired me to discover new works, like Zora Neale Hurston s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and re discover some others Middlemarch and Everybody is a sharp essay on the philosophy of the famous novel, and not only did it make me want to re read it immediately, it also inspired me in my own writing The essay entitled Hepburn and Garbo spurred me to run out and rent the Philadelphia Story And the final piece, part eulogy and part reading guide, has inspired me to give David Foster Wallace s difficult fiction one try.After reading this book, I cannot wait for her next novel.