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Kaitlyn Greenidge

Kaitlyn Greenidge is the author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin, 2016). Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Believer, American Short Fiction, and other publications. 

Author

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Shaken Out of Time

Winter 2017 | Criticism

Midway through Zadie Smith’s new novel, Swing Time, the unnamed narrator watches two girls walk “hand in hand” down a dusty road in an anonymous, fictionalized African country. “They looked like best friends,” she notes—that “looked” suggesting the mysteries of friendship that the novel has been dedicated to up until that point. “They were out at the edge of the world, or of the world I knew, and watching them, I realized it was…almost impossible for me to imagine what time felt like for them, out here.” The girls inevitably remind the narrator of her own lost, best friend, Tracey, who angrily haunts the novel, forever resisting the narrator’s attempts to regulate her to incorporeality. Of their friendship, she notes, “We thought we were products of a particular moment, because as well as our old musicals, we liked things like Ghostbusters and Dallas. We felt we had our place in time. What person on earth doesn’t feel this way?” But the narrator is unable to place the two girls before her in any time. “When I waved at those two girls…I couldn’t rid myself of the idea that they were timeless symbols of girlhood…I knew it couldn’t possibly be the case but I had no other way of thinking of them.”

God Help the Child. By Toni Morrison. Knopf, 2015. 192p. HB, $24.95.

The Riotous Power of Toni Morrison

April 20, 2015 | Criticism

In her eleventh novel, God Help the Child, there’s no danger of desiccation. Morrison’s work is as insistent as ever. She could still be charged with inciting a riot—albeit a quiet one, one that lends itself to pernicious reversals of thinking rather than dramatic implosions.