**** A prodigiously talented writer who became a best seller with her first novel White Teeth in 2000 at the age of 25, Zadie Smith has gone from strength to strength.
Swing Time examines female friendship, class and race and the way none of can ever really know ourselves, yet alone another person. The novel moves from council estates in north-west London where the narrator and her best friend, Tracey attend the same dance class, to success (or what is viewed as success) in dance or politics or music, and back again via a Madonna-like international pop star and her bid to create a school for girls in West Africa and to adopt a baby.
An ambitious novel, long-listed for the Booker this year, the novel is over-long but still a great read. Truthful, perceptive and, in spite of its exuberance, ultimately very sad.