Nabokov, Meet 50 Cent: Zadie Smith's Changing My Mind

The novelist gathers up a wide collection of her essays.

To prove it, Smith did what amounted to a series of impressions—Eliza Doolittle; college-era Obama; Frank O'Hara; and, finally, the German voice at the other end of the phone that reached the author at a posh, "white, liberal, highly educated" election-night party: "Zadie! Come to Harlem. It's vild here. I'm in za middle of a crazy reggae bar—it's so vonderful. Vy not come now!" Flexibility of voice, in "Speaking in Tongues"—as in the rest of Changing My Mind—leads inexorably to flexibility in all things. One guess as to whether or not she went.

zbaron@villagevoice.com

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