The Book of Other People Summary and Reviews

The Book of Other People

by Zadie Smith (editor)

The Book of Other People by Zadie Smith (editor) X
The Book of Other People by Zadie Smith (editor)
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2008
    304 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

Paperback original. The Book of Other People is about character. Twenty-five or so outstanding writers have been asked by Zadie Smith to make up a fictional character. By any measure, creating character is at the heart of the fictional enterprise, and this book concentrates on writers who share a talent for making something recognizably human out of words (and, in the case of the graphic novelists, pictures). But the purpose of the book is variety: straight “realism”—if such a thing exists—is not the point. There are as many ways to create character as there are writers, and this anthology features a rich assortment of exceptional examples.

Writers include: Aleksandar Hemon, Nick Hornby, Hari Kunzru, Toby Litt, David Mitchell, George Saunders, Colm Tóibín and Chris Ware

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Taking the collection as a whole, the short story - its future frequently worried over in the face of diminishing sales and commercial pressure - looks to be in healthy form." - The Observer.

"So what can we conclude after The Book of Other People? That Chekhov's influence on the short story is still paramount. That "hysterical realism", the tendency in contemporary fiction so accurately diagnosed by critic James Wood in 2001 – symptoms include fact fetishism, list making, digressive mini-essays – has mercifully given way to something more intelligent and true. Last, that fiction rarely awards first prize to youth. The standout story here is the beautiful "Donal Webster" ... It's by Colm Tóibí, who at 52 is the oldest writer between these covers, and would alone make this collection worthwhile." - The Guardian.

"Of all contemporary pastimes, charity offers the best excuse for fooling about. Without charity there would be no bathing in cold custard, no public displays of depilation and no outlet for tombola. Nobody would ever have entered a shipping lane clad only in Speedos and goosefat. And there would be no charity anthologies, which may not be a bad thing – except that occasionally, as with this book, the carnival misrule of the format produces something novel and touching and fun." - The Times.

"Starred Review. With so much to savor—the sensuality of Adam Thirlwell’s “Nigora,” the knowingness of George Saunder’s “Puppy”—this anthology will sate even the most famished short story fan." - Publishers Weekly.

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Author Information

Zadie Smith (editor) Author Biography

Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. She is the author of the novels White Teeth,The Autograph ManOn Beauty and NW, as well as The Embassy of Cambodia and a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. Zadie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002, and was listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013. White Teeth won multiple literary awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006, and NW was shortlisted for the ...

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Name Pronunciation
Zadie Smith (editor): zay-dee

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