"Most literary prizes are only nominally about literature. They are really about brand consolidation for beer companies, phone companies, coffee companies and even frozen food companies." — A blog signed by Zadie Smith
"But to me, an exercise in style is not a superficial matter – our lives are also an exercise in style."
- The Guardian Interview 1 August 2013.
White Teeth (2000)
- The more blessed she felt on earth, the more rarely she turned to heaven.
- You hear girls in the toilets of clubs saying, 'Yeah, he fucked off and left me. He just couldn't deal with love. He was too fucked up to know how to love me.' Now how did that happen? What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll—then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.
- His mind was a small thing with big holes through which passions regularly seeped out.
- The thinnest covering of luck was on him like fresh dew. While he slipped in and out of consciousness, the position of the planets, the music of the spheres, the flap of a tiger moth's diaphanous wings in Central Africa, and a whole bunch of other stuff that makes shit happen had decided it was second-chance time for Archie.
- This is what divorce is: Taking things you no longer want from people you no longer love.
- Ryan's freckles were a join-the-dot's enthusiast's wet dream.
- ..and the devil won another easy hand in God's poker game.
- … dressed all in yellow spreading warmth and the promise of sex.
- … and catholics give out forgiveness at the same time politicians give out promises and whores give out.
- Is there anything more likely to take the shine off an affair that when the lover strikes up a convivial relationship with the lovee's mother.
- A past tense, future perfect kind of night.
- But why do they always have to be laughing and making a song-and-dance about everything? I cannot believe homosexuality is that much fun. Heterosexuality certainly is not.
- He talked and talked, the kind of talking you do to stave off the inevitable physical desire. The kind of talk that only increases it.
- Revelation is where all crazy people end up. It's the last stop on the nutso express.
- Because this is the other thing about immigrants: they cannot escape their history any more than you yourself can lose your shadow.
The Autograph Man (2002)
- His death is like the soft down on the back of your hand, passing unnoticed in the firmest of handshakes, though the slightest breeze makes every damn one of the tiny hairs stand on end.
On Beauty (2005)
- The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.
- Unspecified edition, p. 424.
- A carefully preserved English accent also upped the fear factor.
- Unspecified edition, p. 155.
- It was in the shady groves of dictionaries that Jack fell in love.
- Unspecified edition, p. 54.
- You don't have favorites among your children but you do have allies.
- Unspecified edition, p. 167.
- He traced the genealogy of the feeling
- Unspecified edition, p. 179.
- He was bookish, she was not; he was theoretical, she political. She called a rose a rose. He called it an accumulation of cultural and biological constructions circulating around the mutually attracting binary poles of nature/artifice.
- Unspecified edition, p. 225.
- In a whisper he began begging for—and, as the sun set, received—the concession people always beg for: a little more time.
- Unspecified edition, p. 398.