Report on The Page Turners Meeting - Meeting, Thursday, 2 March 2017
Swing Time by Zadie Smith is, The Page Turners thought, a challenging book to read.
Challenging in the themes that were the lynchpin to the story as well as challenging to read.
The author has a writing style that stops and starts abruptly, moving across scenes and continents as the story unfolds.
The lack of an easy flow to the story caused our group members to have to persevere in order to finish reading it. It took time to “get into the story” and there were quite a number of characters to get to grips with.
One of the group said “We didn’t enjoy it …. But are we supposed to enjoy it?
Many of the themes of the book - mixed race relationships, social inequality, third world politics and ambition/fulfilling individual potential left some of the group feeling outside of their comfort zone.
Many felt that having no direct experience of some of the things that were happening to the characters made for a distance read. Like “listening to a piece of music that you are not enjoying but you feel you want to give it a chance.
Zadie Smith is, we felt a very intelligent writer and is obviously very conversant with the issues on which the book is based. She writes in an informed and proficient way. No words are wasted.
There are no laughs in this book. Rather a challenge to our beliefs and our views of the world. Our discussion however was a positive measure of the fact that we all took messages from the book that we unravelled amongst ourselves.
The average score (1-10) for this book was 3. Not an outcome that says this book is not worth reading. Rather this is a book that will take your time and energy to confront squarely and attempt to incorporate its ideas into your thinking.
- Report by Ellen Schofield