What to say about the ride that Zadie Smith takes readers on in NW?
There is barely a plot, the reading is tricky in some parts (especially if you're unfamiliar with the location and patois) the ending is loosely drawn together, and yet...
There are moments of utter clarity and brilliant writing. The Felix section stands out for me, perhaps because, in contrast to the Leah section before it, there is more in the way of traditional narrative conventions. Also, knowing what is about to happen provides momentum.
Keisha/ Natalie and Leah struggle to escape class and race constraints; they have moved up and away, but not so far that they can't still interact with those who haven't. Their problems transgress the post code though, and it is here that (mostly female?) readers will find the connection.
I liked the style of the final section where intertextual references (like Beehive= Amy Winehouse) were scattered through, enough to ground the reader in that time, that place...
I get the feeling Smith wants her readers to work a bit.
And the payoff for the work is enough.