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This way please!

Quick, go to The New Yorker. Now na!

I don't remember if there's an archive of The New Yorker's short fic, but this week's story by the lovely Zadie Smith, "Hanwell in Hell," won we over. Mind you, am not really a fan of her work. Lost interest a number of pages into White Teeth, was impatient with the kakulitan of a story of hers in Granta (I think), and haven't felt the need to check out her contrib in Nick Hornby's Speaking With the Angel antho (though Hornby's "Nipple Jesus" there is a must-read; great narrator, cool humor, sincere, could be discussed on different levels in class).

Sometimes I get impatient with Zadie's Dickensian stuff, sometimes I find the humor a bit corny and pompous. I dunno if this short story's old or new, but she's way more mature here. Again, there's a chatty narrator dwelling on the lost years. It amazes me how such a young writer (well, she's older than me, at least) could be so nostalgic in her stories. An affinity with family history from her old folks' stories, perhaps? I sometimes say she kinda writes like a man; of course there's a male narrator here and it's great that she got the masculine sensibility down.

"Hanwell in Hell" is a slow burn type of story, the pace picks up around the middle to the end. It's quieter and more desperate than her other stories that I've read, and the images and details are way more fascinating and strange. Check out that scene in Hanwell's flat later, it'll take a while for that image to leave your head. Enjoy!

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Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.

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