Englischsprachige Literatur

Smith Zadie

The Autograph Man

Penguin, London 2003


Zadie Smith´s first novel “White Teeth” has been quite a success, although the author herself criticised it for being too loosely knitted. She more or less promised, her next novel would be much better. I doubt it is, sad to say.

This time Smith writes about a group of 30ish Jewish members of British subculture. We get to know Alex-Li Tandem, who has a Jewish mother and Chinese father and earns a comfortable living with buying and selling autographs. This doesn´t take up much of his time but serves as a convenient pretence to write elaborately about film stars and scenes, just like Nick Hornby did with music. Alex-Li spends lots of time in shabby fast food places and gets drunk or stoned almost every night, together with Adam, his best friend, who turns into a Jewish mystic when sufficiently drugged.

It´s all very well but hardly very interesting. Alex´ girlfriend drifts in and out , has already had two abortions and can´t make up her mind, whom to love and what to do. Is Zadie Smith a follower of Alex Garland now? I wonder.