Feel Free: Essays

Feel Free: Essays


From Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays

Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world's preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.

Arranged into five sections--In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free--this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network--and Facebook itself--really about? "It's a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore." Why do we love libraries? "Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay." What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? "So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we'd just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes--and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat."

Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, such as, "Joy," and, "Find Your Beach," Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith's own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive--and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith.

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  • paulie

    2.991 stars - - - i'm free! this was a struggle to continue the more i read. broken into five sections: 'in the world', 'in the audience', 'in the gallery', 'on the bookshelf', and 'feel free', this b...

  • Roman Clodia

    A mixed collection of essays: the best are when Smith is discussing issues of politics (the closure of public libraries, the Brexit vote) where she brings a personal intimacy to national questions. Le...

  • Rod-Kelly Hines

    There's enough here for any and everybody to enjoy! Brava Queen!...

  • Max Urai

    So: Zadie Smith, it seems, has replaced David Foster Wallace as my new person-to-aspire-to-be writer. Some pretty major shit going on with that right now. More as the story develops....

  • Andre

    ⭐⭐⭐.5 The standout aspect of these essays is the writing is always stunning. It is not difficult to understand why Zadie Smith is hailed in all corners of the literary world. There is an essay w...

  • Krista

    Writing exists (for me) at the intersection of three precarious, uncertain elements: language, the world, the self. The first is never wholly mine; the second I can only ever know in a partial sense; ...

  • Lara

    Just gonna say, Some Notes on Attunement is one of the best essays about music I've ever read. I know 100% nothing about Joni Mitchell. I'm sure I've heard something of hers at some point, but I hav...

  • Christy Childers

    My most anticipated 2018 book!...

  • Laura

    The range of subjects Smith explores is this collection is truly dizzying: from the personal to the political, the philosophical to the physical, Brexit to Justin Bieber, Phillip Roth to Karl Ove Knau...

  • Molly Ferguson

    This was an advance reading copy graciously lent to me.What is truly amazing about Zadie Smith is her ability to go from "low" culture to high art in one sentence - she'll be musing on Key and Peele o...