Believe it or not, this is the first writing of Zadie Smith’s I’ve read, which seems criminal as both a book-lover and a feminist (and also because On Beauty was a setwork at university but I was a spotter so didn’t read it and got away with it like I really didn’t deserve). Safe to say, I’m so excited to get my hands on her fiction now that I’ve had a taster of how her brain works in her non-fiction, as well as her delightfully simple yet somehow poetic turn of phrase.
She wrote Intimations in early lockdown – six essays observing the world in the Covid-context and the way humanity has responded to the crisis. For her, it sparked memories of past encounters and experiences, it made her contemplate what was even worth contemplation, it inspired thoughts about the nature of suffering and the virus that is “contempt”, and it is poignantly though never aggressively filled with socio-political commentary and disdain for current world powers. What a time to be alive – I think art in quarantine will be its own genre in the future of literary studies.