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GRAND UNION: Stories
By Zadie Smith
(Penguin Press)

Beloved, iconic novelist and essayist Zadie Smith presents her first collection of short stories with Grand Union, many of which are published here for the first time. The format allows for a set of mostly (but not entirely) disparate narrative nuggets, and Smith’s voice is always on the page, even as those pages wander to many different places. With stories that include Elizabeth Taylor, old friends, marital splits, Brexit, gender nonconformity, an old-fashioned corset shop, this collection contains both the hyper-real and the dystopian while spanning many geographic spaces and identities.

Many stories start by dropping the reader squarely in the center of unfolding action which creates an urgency, a current to catch up with. And while not every entry in this work sings, the ones that do are an entire chorus. Smart and cleverly paced, this collection in some places is so contemporary it crackles, and elsewhere is a timeless snapshot of a few small moments. Likely to be a classic due to Smith’s reputation, the whip-smart humanity rendered here stands strong on its own. (4/5)

By Christine Femia

 

Grand Union was published October 22, 2019. This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

 

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