Some books change the world, voice stories that were unheard of until that point or reflect a certain tendency in society in such a way that it almost feels prophetic. In the series The Book Club we talk about important books and authors, and look at the societal changes and challenges that they represent.
In this edition of the Book Club Robin van den Akker gives a lecture on Zadie Smith’s 2012 novel NW. If one writer has become the “superstar” of this century’s writing scene it is Zadie Smith. In both her appearance (female, young, British and Jamaican) and the topics of her writing (growing up, urban life and the British class system) she is a remarkable presence and has in no time become the voice of her generation. Her books are poetic, funny and moving, and her characters are often searching for their place in the world and struggling with, or trying to escape, their background.
As in many of her books, NW – short for north-west London – is placed in a dodgy council estate and follows four people that try to escape their past while struggling with the time passing. It sharply depicts minority experiences, female friendship, and family relations that are (painfully) affected by class, politics, education and growing up into different directions.
Robin van den Akker is Senior Lecturer in, and Head of Department for, the humanities department at Erasmus University College Rotterdam. He has written extensively on contemporary arts, culture, aesthetics and politics.
This event is open for all EUR, EMC and EUC students and employees. It is not necessary to have read to book in order to attend the event, though we would of course encourage you to do so. Organised by Studium Generale in collaboration with student association EUCSA.