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Fixed on Fiction

Swing Time

In September, Fixed on Fiction met to discuss Swing Time by Zadie Smith-

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.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

-Summary courtesy of Goodreads.

Swing Time received very mixed reviews in our group which led to a fabulous discussion. Here are some of the initial comments readers made while discussing this month’s title:

  • I really liked it. Terrific writing. You could picture that friendship. Fascinating themes that tied through the whole book.
  • Thumbs down. Strong author. Insightful thoughts. I just didn’t care about any of the characters. I kept waiting for the actual story to start…and then nothing happened.
  • Thumbs up. I thought the characters were interesting. But this was more about issues than story or plot. Very well-written.
  • I did not finish but I wanted to come and hear what everyone else thought. I just didn’t care about the characters enough to keep reading.
  • I didn’t finish but I plan on doing so. I didn’t love it at first but I liked it more and more as I kept going. The cultural details were intriguing and the mother-daughter relationship was interesting.
  • This was so-so for me. No storyline- just snippets of time and nothing actually happened.
  • Thumbs up. Discussed friendship, class, race…I liked the subtlety of what was not written.
  • Thumbs down. Nothing drew me in. Long and boring.
  • So-so. I really disliked Tracey. And like someone else said, I just kept waiting for something to happen.
  • So-so. A little long and it dragged on. More about class, race, and gender…not a story about what’s going to happen just a story of her life.

These are just a few comments made during our meeting. Feel free to share additional thoughts on Swing Time in the comments section below. Additionally, here are some other titles FoF members shared:


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