There is a tremendous degree of variety in Zadie Smith’s short story collection, “Grand Union”. Variations in style, theme, tempo. There is also (for me at least) considerable variation in terms of what one might euphemistically – and dangerously! – bracket as ‘accessibility’. Some of the writing is breathtaking; some less so. A number of the stories are entirely engrossing; again, some less so.
I have often been tempted to buy Smith’s “Swing Time” – primarily because of its prominence every time I go into Waterstones – but have refrained from doing so thus far. When I came across “Grand Union” it seemed the ideal introduction to Smith’s work, as short stories have for me in relation to a number of other writers.
My conclusion? Well, I don’t think I’ll be buying “Swing Time” in the near future. That’s not to say I never will; and that’s also not saying I think there’s anything wrong with Smith’s writing. It simply feels like a case of ‘not for me, just yet’.
Maybe a collection of ‘shorts’ isn’t always the best way of meeting someone… after all, isn’t it a bit like speed dating?