My encounter with authors that I love whose books I cannot stand seems to continue. Swing Time is tedious, boring and a chore - and yet - Zadie Smith's writing is so beautiful - you want to hang it on the wall.
Swing Time starts out well as a story paralleling the lives of two young girls of color in London and discusses their similar but different experiences. This is the fun part. As the girls grow up, the wheels seem to largely come off. And as always, I often wonder - are bad stories just an indication of bad reality? Art imitating life again?
The cogent personal experience of the first part dissolves into a rather detached, outsider peering into their own life hoping to find something more than was really there. Good writers can often find more in banality than most of us can in significant events. But Smith, as great as she is, struggles to make gold out of this mud. Every sentence, beautiful in it self, fails to tell a story of any merit.