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Grand Union
Stories
By (author): Zadie Smith
9780735235533 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Literary Oct 08, 2019
$34.00 CAD
Active 6.34 x 9.53 x 0.9 in 256 pages Penguin Canada Hamish Hamilton
 
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2020, Long-listed
The first ever collection of stories from the bestselling and beloved author of Swing Time and White Teeth

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Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction.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.

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 two collections of essays, Changing My Mind and Feel Free. She currently lives in New York, where she is a professor of fiction at New York University. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. She is a regular contributor to The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books. Grand Union is her first collection of short stories.

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Publicity: Toronto event

Features/interviews likely with Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Elle, Chatelaine, NOW Magazine, CBC Writers and Company or Q

Reviews

“Nineteen erudite stories wheel through a constellation of topics, tones, and fonts to dizzying literary effect . . . Several of Smith’s stories are on their ways to becoming classics.” —Kirkus starred review

“An extraordinary talent . . . Zadie Smith encompasses everything from satire to feminism in her short-story collection . . . It would be outrageous not to praise [Smith’s] versatility.” —The Times

“Tales for our times bursting with wit . . . Race, sex, environmental and political meltdown, addiction, identity, Brett Kavanaugh: this is a book of and for the times, sobering in its clarity but bracingly witty and clever . . . Smith has her finger on the pulse of life and the utter weirdness of whatever has just become normal.” —The Evening Standard

“I tore through this kaleidoscopic collection in one long mad rush—but then Zadie Smith’s prose often has that effect on me. There’s much to unpack here and a wild variety of modes and styles.” —Quill & Quire

“Fury, heartbreak, and drollery collide in masterfully crafted prose that ranges in effect from the exquisitely tragic lyricism of Katherine Mansfield to the precisely calibrated acid bath of Jamaica Kincaid as Smith demonstrates her unique prowess for elegant disquiet.” —Booklist (starred review)

“There is no moment in Grand Union when we are not entertained, or doubt that we are in the company of one of our best contemporary writers.”The Guardian

“Smart and bewitching . . . The modern world is refracted in ways that are both playful and rigorous, formally experimental and socially aware . . . Smith exercises her range without losing her wry, slightly cynical humor. Readers of all tastes will find something memorable in this collection.” Publishers Weekly

“In Grand Union, Zadie Smith delivers some of the best fiction of her career . . . Taken all together, the book does feel like a kind of grand union: the lucky synthesis of everything swirling inside Smith’s big, beautiful brain.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Thrillingly, the best work in Grand Union is some of the newest . . . Several stories take a mosaic approach, juxtaposing disparate scenes . . . into a brilliant whole. The effect, appropriately, is rather like jazz . . . [Grand Union] contains some of Smith’s most vibrant, original fiction, the kind of writing she’ll surely be known for. Some of these stories provide hints that everything we’ve seen from her so far will one day be considered her ‘early work,’ that what lies ahead is less charted territory, wilder and less predictable and perhaps less palatable to the casual reader but exactly what she needs to be writing.”New York Times

“In Grand Union, Zadie Smith proves her literary brilliance knows no bounds . . . Smith’s compositions—rife with ambivalence, in love with ideas, witty and mordant—echo in the head long after the last word . . . As a whole, Grand Union stands as a glittering affirmation of Smith’s virtuosity and range. And because she is such a generous and penetrating observer of the world, one keeps turning the pages and exclaiming with recognition, ‘oh there we are there we are there we are there we are there we are.’”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Smith combines her power of observation and the inimitable voice to mine the fraught and complex experience of life in the modern world. Varying genres and perspectives are deftly and exhilaratingly manoeuvred, from comments on the political climate to the mildly dystopian. Each story is a new surprise of literary genius that takes the reader on a short journey away from reality . . . A must-read for literary lovers everywhere.”Vanity Fair

“These masterful tales impress, engage and occasion¬ally infuriate as Smith brings her dazzling wit and acute sensitivity to bear . . . All genres are Smith’s to play with.” —BookPage (starred review)

“All provocative, incisive, and revealing Smith's prodigious talent, which she refuses to limit to any singular genre or subject, instead choosing to range from dystopia to realism, offering sly commentary on the lives we live today, and what might be in store for our futures.” —NYLON

Grand Union applies [Smith’s] sharp skills of observation and her playful wit…The virtuoso Smith doesn’t stick to one genre. Dystopia and horror sit adjacent to historical fiction in this energetic collection. Her fans will appreciate her rigorous engagement with identity, class, family and place.”New York Observer

“A gorgeous mix of genres and perspectives.”New York Post

“[The stories] ricochet between, among other settings, 1950s London and modern-day Manhattan. But each demonstrates that Smith continues to be among the most observant voices working today.”Elle

“Smith’s first short story collection packs in satire, sci-fi, social commentary and more. It ranges from finessed showstoppers to rambunctious sketches, with an emotional terrain shaped by parenthood and middle age . . . An exuberant volume that’s bracing, thoughtful and frequently very funny.”Daily Mail

“With Grand Union, Zadie Smith proves she’s a master of short stories, too . . . But the best stories contained here, the stories that will whiplash readers into cycles of heartbreak, hope, and more heartbreak are those . . . that illustrate the intrusions, whether grand or diminutive, that disrupt the days, the family circles, the very unions we all hold dear.” —AV Club

“An enchanting collection that examines the complexity of contemporary life . . . [Grand Union] refuses to define itself as any one thing. Instead, Smith allows each story to take on a tone, genre and life of its own . . . Her characters are vivid and unique, as are her observations about the state of the world . . . It's well worth spending time with Smith, examining and dissecting the way things are, the way things were and the way things could become.”The Philadelphia Inquirer

[Grand Union] is a set of sharp, savvy tales which juggles genres, brims with vitality and lays bare hearts and minds . . . She does what all good writers should do: leaves her reader wanting more.” —The Herald

“Smith casts a humorous and unsentimental eye on characters throughout Grand Union . . . This dazzling collection of stories will leave you with plenty to think about.” —The Independent, starred review

“Zadie Smith's stunning short story collection [Grand Union] highlights dynamic characters who are endowed with rare philosophical insights into their own shortcomings . . . Presenting individuals and relationships in various stages of disarray, Smith's stories tackle ethnic, socio-economic and political divisions in the Western world through the eyes of those on the margins of society . . . Smith's legendary descriptive powers provide a first-rate sensory experience in a collection that combines fresh new pieces with recent classics.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

“Zadie Smith’s first collection of short stories shows that she can pack all the astute social commentary of her novels just as deftly into the short form . . . Wildly experimental . . . Her efforts to push the boundaries are tremendous . . . A bold and tender book.” —The Spectator

Grand Union offers a pithy collection of stories that showcases [Smith’s] many strengths . . . Tightly coiled, multilayered, rich in description and tangentially topical . . . Smith is exceptionally skilled at depicting the way people see one another, and frequently misunderstand what they see.” —Star Tribune

“[Smith’s] undeniable genius is present in Grand Union . . . Zadie Smith [is] squarely in command, and who am I not to submit?” —The Globe and Mail

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