What you need to know about Zadie Smith is that her sentences are like layered cakes, each of them unpretentious— there is no ganache, no marshmallow filling—and slathered with words like a luscious frosting. They’re pretty and they’re comforting, a scaffolding of ideas unfolding like flavors on your tongue.
This collection of essays is no different. It reads like frank entries in a journal, each of them building toward the deepest layer of this short book: comparing the epidemic of contempt to the Covid epidemic. What opens as an artist’s rumination on life during lockdown builds into a meditation on humanity and empathy and what a world society can learn from this uniquely shared moment.
This is a collection in which to sink your teeth.
Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of reflective essays by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time
Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations explores ideas and questions prompted by an unprecedented situation. What does it mean to submit to a new reality—or to resist it? How do we compare relative sufferings? What is the relationship between time and work? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us? How do we think about them? What is the ratio of contempt to compassion in a crisis? When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it?
Suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these extraordinary times, Intimations is a slim, suggestive volume with a wide scope, in which Zadie Smith clears a generous space for thought, open enough for each reader to reflect on what has happened—and what should come next.
The author will donate her royalties from the sale of Intimations to charity.