Swing Time by zadie Smith
ISB(Abe)N: Discussion Questions #2:
1.) The narrator pits herself in comparison against Tracey many times throughout the book—despite their separate upbringings and diverging futures. What do you think this demonstrates?
2.) The main character of the story remains unnamed by the book's finish. Why do you think that is?
3.) The storytelling in Swing Time has been criticized as self-indulgent in the first-person. Do you agree? Does the story spend a lot of time on the narrator's perspective? Why is this helpful (or unhelpful) to the story's plot?
4.) Throughout the book, the narrator regularly engages in cultural commentary. From thoughts on her own mother's feminism to criticisms of her celebrity employer, Aimee, many of these characters represent modern tropes. How did you (or did you not) relate to these characters, and do you think these characterizations ring true in reality?
5.) Swing Time doesn't follow a regular chronology. Why do you think that is?
6.) Tracey remains a figment of the narrator's life to the very end—and contributes to her downfall / self-realization. What does this illustrate? What was Smith's intention?
7.) The narrator's mother's feminist journey is an interesting element of the storyline and affects the narrator's life on many occasion. Thoughts?
8.) This may be cliché, but what was the moral of the story? Did the story have one at all?