Abby's Reviews > The Book of Other People

The Book of Other People by Zadie Smith
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Mar 12, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, short-stories

After a beautiful day of skiing, my luck remained with me as I plucked this book off the Free Shelf in Telluride.
What's inside this small book is a huge collection of amazing, unique short stories (and a few comics), by the heavy hitters in modern American (and British, and Irish, and probably some more) fiction. The unifying theme is that each story is about a character, and that this book was a fundraiser for 826 New York, a youth literary project in New York.
I skipped around, changing order as it suited my mood, and re-reading several of the stories when the endings revealed something that had been hidden earlier. The characters range from hazy to obnoxious to tragic to hipster to my grandmother (yes, thank you Jonathan Safran Foer, for that unoriginal but amusing monologue). They are revealed to us through their own narratives, others' perceptions of them, and their absences and memories.
If you only have time to glance at this book while in someone else's bathroom, or the doctor's waiting room, read "Judith Castle" by David Mitchell, "Gideon" by ZZ Packer, "Lele" by Edwidge Danticat, "Magda Mandela" by Hari Kunzru, "Puppy" by George Saunders, and "Roy Spivey" by Miranda July.

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