L'home dels autògrafs
by Zadie Smith
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L’anterior novel·la de Zadie Smith, Dents blanques, va convulsionar el panorama de les lletres europees, per la força del llibre i la joventut de la seva autora. Els lectors catalans no van ser aliens a l’interès suscitat pel llibre arreu on s’ha traduït. Després de Dents blanques, la nova novel·la... More

All Reviews

4 + 68 in other languages
IrisIris wrote a review
01
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I keep reading books by Zadie Smith hoping to find the same flashes of genius I had found in "White Teeth". As "On Beauty" had done, "The Autograph Man" left me unsatisfied: the quest is still not over, and I wonder if it ever will be.

"The Autograph Man" has potential: a potential that Smith goes our of her way to waste, creating a convoluted plot that a somewhat hard to digest prose complicates even more.

The novel is full of cryptic references which may fill the heart of the Kabbalah expert with joy, but leave everyone else puzzled, waiting for an explanation that Smith just doesn't care to provide. Kabbalah and judaism being one of the main themes of the book, it's hard for the average reader to relate to the characters, and make sense of their thoughts and actions. Which is fair enough, as youthful confusion is another of the novel key motifs, with the main character, Alex-Li, struggling to find his place in a world in which he moves like a precarious, awkward being. An interesting cue, that could have been dealt with better and in much less than the novel's 400+ pages.

The location is another let-down. "White Teeth" and "On Beauty" contain some of the finest London-set pages I have ever read: indisputable proof that Zadie Smith is a London writer, and a writer of London. All else failing, I hoped she would delight me with some more brilliant London portraits - while, in fact, I was on my way to another disappointment.

The UK half of the book is set in a London that doesn't feel like London - because it's not London at all. Instead of exploiting her impressive ability of writing about the city, Smith created the fictional suburb of Mountjoy, set somewhere north-of-the-north with the fake postcode of N23. With no colourful and multicultural realities to draw from, she settled for the dull portrait of a dull and insignificant place: a workaround I wasn't expecting from the brilliant writer she already proved she can be.