Feel Free

Feel Free

by Zadie Smith

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Winner of the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 

A New York Times Notable Book

From Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays

Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world's preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.

Arranged into five sections--In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free--this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network--and Facebook itself--really about? "It's a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore." Why do we love libraries? "Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay." What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? "So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we'd just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes--and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat."

Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, such as, "Joy," and, "Find Your Beach," Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith's own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive--and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith.

Zadie Smith's new book, Grand Union, is on sale 10/8/2019.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698178885
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 137,819
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

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 a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. 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.


London, England

Date of Birth:

October 27, 1975

Place of Birth:

Willesden, London, England


B.A. in English, King's College at Cambridge University, 1998

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Part I In the World 1

Northwest London Blues 3

Elegy for a Country's Seasons 14

Fenes: A Brexit Diary 20

On Optimism and Despair 35

Part II In the Audience 43

Generation Why? 45

The House That Hova Built 64

Brother from Another Mother 74

Some Notes on Attunement 100

Windows on the Will: Anomalisa 117

Dance Lessons for Writers 136

Part III In the Gallery 149

Killing Orson Welles at Midnight 151

Flaming June 160

"Crazy They Call Me": On Looking at Jerry Dantzic's Photos of Billie Holiday 164

Alte Frau by Balthasar Denner 173

Mark Bradford's Niagara 181

A Bird of Few Words: Narrative Mysteries in the Paintings of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 187

The Tattered Ruins of the Map: On Sarah Sze's Centrifuge 201

Getting In and Out 212

Part IV On the Bookshelf 225

Crash by J. G. Ballard 227

The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi 236

Notes on NW 248

The Harper's Columns 251

The I Who Is Not Me 333

Part V Feel Free 349

Life-Writing 351

The Bathroom 354

Man Versus Corpse 366

Meet Justin Bieber! 381

Love in the Gardens 394

The Shadow of Ideas 406

Find Your Beach 420

Joy 427

Afterword 436

Picture Credits 437

Acknowledgments 438

Index 445

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Feel Free 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
GirlWithNoSelfie More than 1 year ago
Zadie Smith’s Feel Free is a round up collection of essays and journalistic pieces from over the past ten years. Smith covers a wide range of current issue and topics. From library closures in London, to having a sit down with Jay Z at an Italian restaurant, Brexit, Facebook and she even manages to discuss Justin Bieber in relation to philosopher Martin Buber. Every single piece in this collection is absolutely phenomenal. While I am fully aware that not all the pieces will be for everybody – I guarantee there will be something that speaks to you, as quiet a few hit me to the core. Smith says she asks herself whenever she meets someone whose interests are wide-ranging : “How does she find the time?” With all the varied topics in this book a prospective reader may wonder : How will we find the time to dig into all these subjects with her? To answer that question – this book is not one you should be in a rush to finish in one sitting. This is a book you buy, keep near and savor slowly. Five star rating!