“Grand Union” Zadie Smith reinvents herself with each new book

As she did in Contemplations ( Ed. Salamandra, 2020) to reflect on human beings and time, Zadie Smith now offers us with Grand Union (2022), also published by Salamandra, a collection of stories in which she reflects on reality. A fascinating collection of stories for which the English author has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal. This prize is awarded annually for the most outstanding children’s/young adult book and was established by The Library Association in 1936. It is named after the Scottish-born American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) founder of over 2800 English-language libraries worldwide.

Grand Union ‘reality subjected to Zadie Smith critique’

Grand Unión Zadie Smith

The work compiles nineteen stories/reflections by the author that flow without apparent order like a kind of musical improvisation. Through different perspectives, Zadie Smith approaches with brilliant narrative freedom a compendium of stories that range from the most quotidian to science fiction. It is clear that the author writes what she wants and how she wants. But Smith’s prose is not sloppy at all. From the historical to the deeply dystopian, Grand Union it is still a more or less crude reflection of our reality, or, as the author sees it, of what she sees as such. Smith employs autofiction, science fiction, social satire and surrealism among other resources in an impressive display of formal resources.

Throughout its 288 pages, themes of raging social reality run through the book’s pages. Racial identity, the family, culture in general and literature in particular, the media and social networks are themes that run through the stories.

A more than interesting read

Zadie Smith’s Grand Union is a surprise in the end. The reader doesn’t know what he or she is going to find in the next story. Grand Union is a read for readers of all tastes, as the author manages to keep us jumping from page to page almost in amazement. Zadie Smith’s pen is deeply critical but without losing its elegance. The author is able to seduce without ceasing to surprise and even, on occasion, to disturb. Perhaps this compendium of stories is a metaphor or a prophecy about the future that awaits us. In any case, it is highly recommended reading.

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