Zadie Smith is a wonderful writer. I was first introduced to her in a sermon preached at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, a few years ago. The preacher used her descriptions of what it means to write poetry and fiction to help us all understand the miracles in the Gospels. It was a perfect connection, and I have not forgotten it. (I did ask the preacher for his manuscript and he told me there was none! Impressive.)
I had started White Teeth once and did not get far, but I really liked On Beauty. And Smith continues to write about writing and about the relationship between reader and writer and the place of fiction in our culture.
The current issue of The New York Review of Books has an amazing essay by Zadie Smith titled “In Defense of Fiction.” This is a long and complex piece, but well worth your time.