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Six Essays

Bookseller Recommendation


“Zadie Smith’s slim but concentrated Intimations is just what I needed during a pandemic. Our current collective American reality is validated in her intelligent voice, and it’s comforting. She talks about the power writers have to create their own worlds. She talks about suffering—how it defies class and privilege—and how she experiences her own privilege. She talks about “the virus,” and about the virus of racism—how we’re willing to make societal changes to mitigate the spread of one, but not the other. And at the end, a love letter/gratitude list. Listen to the audiobook if you want to hear Zadie Smith sing (literally!).”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store


“Smith does more than illuminate what we're going through right now. She offers a model of how to think ourselves through a fraught historical moment without getting hysterical or sanctimonious, without losing our compassion or our appreciation for what's good in other people. She teaches us how to be better at being human.” —John Powers, Fresh Air

Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of reflective essays by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time.

Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality--or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us? How do we think about them? What is the ratio of contempt to compassion in a crisis? When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it?

Suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these extraordinary times, Intimations is a slim, suggestive volume with a wide scope, in which Zadie Smith clears a generous space for thought, open enough for each reader to reflect on what has happened--and what should come next.

The author will donate her royalties from the sale of Intimations to charity.

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