Zadie Smith is a young--very young--British writer who set the publishing world on its ear a few years ago with her stunning novel White Teeth, a rollicking account of life in the melting pot which is modern London. She was 23 when this book was published.
Ms. Smith has a new novel just out called On Beauty. It draws from a similar well of inspiration: today's multi-racial culture and the inevitable conflicts and clashes, some comic, some serious, which inevitably arise.
Powells has an interview with Zadie Smith:
Has it really been more than five years since White Teeth thrust Zadie Smith to the head of her literary class? As the century turned, advance copies of a British debut arrived in bookstore back rooms, adorned with a dazzling endorsement from Salman Rushdie. Now and then booksellers get to see the future — here was one of those instances. White Teeth charted a mongrel cast of London families and lovers in action, and the deeply resonant hilarity that ensued somehow captured the world as we knew it to be, pierced alternately by quiet desperation and fierce purpose, how stuck we seem in the present and yet how far we travel over time. And this from a writer who penned the book before finishing college.