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Muhlenberg Common Read

The Common Read at Muhlenberg College unites the community around one title read by all.

Common Read 2018: Swing Time

Swing Time Book CoverSwing Time by Zadie Smith

ISBN: 9781594203985



An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty. Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live. But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey--the same twists, the same shakes--and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time. -- Provided by publisher.

Themes around 'Swing Time'

Examining 'Swing Time' can be done through a variety of different lenses. Below are links to other library guides related to some of the themes that come through in Zadie Smith's 'Swing Time'. The list below provide just a few of the themes that can be explored more deeply, but does not represent a complete listing of possible themes of this novel. 

Are you examining 'Swing Time' in a way that is not represented here? Explore other library guides for resources and links. 

Reviews of 'Swing Time'

Library Resources on Zadie Smith

Gale Literary Criticism Online

MLA International Bibliography on Zadie Smith

MLA International Bibliography on Swing Time

Other works by Zadie Smith at Trexler Library


Campus Events

"Conversation with Zadie Smith" Wednesday, November 28, 7:00pm in Empie Theater. Tickets required.

More coming soon!