Swing Time

Like Hannah, I have been making a conscientious effort to read a wider variety of genres and authors since we began The Book War. My last adventure was into Fantasy literature which went reasonably well, and provoked quite a bit of chatter among the blog readers. Thanks everyone for the engaging conversation and multitude of Fantasy recommendations!

In the time since my adventure into Fantasy literature, I have read a number of books written by people of color, most recently I finished Swing Time by Zadie Smith. While I can understand the appeal of this novel I found it fell a bit flat for me which is bound to happen on occasion when taking on new genres and authors and this was definitely one of those times. The book itself received mixed reviews from critics but oddly enough I find myself agreeing with both the praise and the criticisms of the book.

Ultimately, the story is a coming of age narrative (I think 😉 ) but the narrative relied on the reader’s knowledge of dance, dance lingo, dance moves, dance movies, in other words, dance culture, and I will admit that my knowledge of any kind of dance is extremely limited. Dancing is one of the things that the two main characters share, so much of their story pivots around dance which made the relationship difficult for me to fully comprehend. That being said, I don’t think one needs an in-depth knowledge of dance to fully appreciate this novel, I just found that my own lack of knowledge limited my engagement with some of the characters including the main character.

The other aspect of the book that made it difficult for me to love, was the personality of the main character/narrator. While I can most certainly understand how many people could/do identify with her I found her wishy-washy and content to be unnoticed to the point of invisibility which did nothing to endear her to me. I think I was disappointed that I didn’t care about the main character and wished the story had been about her mother instead…she I liked (if you read the book, you’ll understand 😉 ).

Adventures in reading will most certainly continue and I’m glad I’m on this journey with my crazy sister who keeps challenging me to break out of the edges of my nice and neat little box! Thanks, Banana!!

Read on my friends!