Books

Grand Union

Grand Union is a short story collection by Zadie Smith.

Zadie Smith

In the summer of 1959, an Antiguan immigrant in north west London lives the last day of his life, unknowingly caught in someone else's story of hate and division, resistance and revolt.

A mother looks back on her early forays into matters of the human heart — and other parts of the human body —considering the ways in which desire is always an act of negotiation, destruction, and self-invention.

A disgraced cop stands amid the broken shards of his life, unable to move forward into a future that holds no place for him.

Moral panic spreads like contagion through the upper echelons of New York City — and the cancelled people look disconcertingly like the rest of us.

A teenage scion of the technocratic elite chases spectres through a premium virtual reality, trailed by a little girl with a runny nose and no surviving family.

We all take a much-needed break from this mess, on a package holiday where the pool's electric blue is ceaselessly replenished, while political and environmental collapse happen far away, to someone else.

Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. Moving exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives, from the historic to the vividly current to the slyly dystopian, Grand Union is a sharply alert and prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, the persistent legacies that haunt our present selves and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us.(From Hamish Hamilton)

Smith is the British author of acclaimed books like White TeethSwing Time and On Beauty. Her work has won the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

From the book

"I woul dlike to be on good terms with all animals," remarked the woman, to her daughter. They were sitting on the gritty beach at Sopot, looking out at the cold sea. The eldest boy had gone to the arcade. The twins were in the water.

"But you are not!" cried the daughter. "You are not at all!"

It was true. What the woman had said was true, in intention, but what the girl had said was true, too, in reality. The woman, though she generally refrained from beef, pork and lamb, ate — with great relish — many other kinds of animals and fish, and put out flypaper in the summer in the stuffy kitchen of their small city apartment and had once (though her daughter did not know this) kicked the family dog. The woman had been pregnant with her fourth child, at the time, and temperamental. The dog seemed to her, at that moment, to be one responsibility too many.


From Grand Union by Zadie Smith ©2019. Published Hamish Hamilton.

Interviews with Zadie Smith

The critically acclaimed British author joined Eleanor Wachtel onstage in Toronto for an exhilarating conversation about her new book, Grand Union, her first collection of short stories. 1:00:16
Eleanor Wachtel spoke with Zadie Smith, onstage in front of a sold-out audience, at Harbourfront in Toronto. They talked about her new book "NW" set on her home turf in London. 52:08
Acclaimed British author Zadie Smith is interviewed on-stage in Toronto by Eleanor Wachtel. 1:09
British novelist Zadie Smith spoke to Writers & Company in 2010. 9:15
The award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty discusses friendship and rivalry in her most recent novel, and her lifelong attraction to musical films. 1:02:27

Other books by Zadie Smith

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