The Beautiful Prose of Zadie Smith

I know “prose” might a rather old-fashioned term, but I can’t think of another. Because my prose (English or otherwise) is kind of limited. Or so it seems in comparsion to the wonderful writing of Zadie Smith. It explaines why I’m just writing a blog (and even that I seem to do reluctantly recently) and Zadie Smith writes prize-winning novels. She was the one writing one of my favourite first line of a chapter. She wrote it in “On Beauty”

Summer left Wellington abruptly and slammed the door on the way out. The shudder sent the leaves to the ground all at once [….]

Even two years after reading these words I’m still in awe about this beautiful image and the way these words manage to create it. If this makes any sense at all to anyone. It’s difficult to put the awe into words and it’s even more difficult to do it in English instead of German. Hence, Zadie Smith = novelist. Me = part-time blogger.

Anyway, I started reading “The Autograph Man” a few days ago and I’m once again impressed by Smith’s descriptive and unique writing and her way of storytelling. And she’s so funny, but not in the obvious, hilarious kind of way, but more in the ironic and casual kind of way. She’s British after all :-) I just enjoy reading stuff like…

Although he was not atrociously overweight in terms of pounds, his flab was ingeniously placed.He had side bellies. The small fold-up chair he sat on could not contain them all. One of the many things TV does not show you is the potential range and horror of human form. For this alone, Alex thought, it is rightly celebrated.

I’m still having some difficulties getting to like or relate to or empathize with the novel’s main character, Alex, but I’m sure I will sooner or later. And if not, I know I’m still going to enjoy the words for just themselves. Especially when they are so true sometimes. I can definitely relate to the following today, even though it was later than 8.30 AM today, when these thoughts occured to me

It was only 8.30 a.m., but already it was time to throw in the white towel. The day had looked good. The day had lied.

I just got home around 9.30 PM today and on my way home on the train I finished reading chapter 6, which included the Pope/Rabbi (in a silent debate) joke, which I didn’t know before and which definitely made me laugh. So maybe my day didn’t lie after all.

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