The Radical Relevance of Zadie Smith

In this novel set in London, New York, and West Africa, an unnamed narrator reflects back on her life and that of her best childhood friend, Tracey, whom she met in dance class. Both girls share a mixed-race identity and a love for dance, but as they get older, their lives and careers take drastically different paths. Smith’s writing style is impeccable: Through her conversational tone and complex yet believable plot, she manages to dissect family dynamics, race, class, feminism, and the institutions of marriage and higher education.

Swing Time

Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. (Goodreads Description)