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Anorak | Peter Conrad On Zadie Smith Makes Parodists Redundant

Peter Conrad On Zadie Smith Makes Parodists Redundant

by | 10th, December 2009

THERE are days when being a parodists is pointless, like when John Prescott speaks, Tottenham play football or Peter Conrad writes about Zadie Smith:

For Zadie Smith, criticism is a bodily pleasure, not an abstracted mental operation. Reading, like eating, caters to her ravenous but discriminating appetite: she finds the essence of Kafka in a sliver of words from his diary, carved, she says, as thin as Parma ham and containing the creator’s “marbled mark”. She doesn’t need a snack when watching a film, because her eyes are feeding on the images: Brief Encounter is, for her, a chunk of Wensleydale cheese, inimitably English. The critical arguments in which Smith engages are as vital and as potentially violent as sexual wrestling matches, and in an essay on Katharine Hepburn she recalls that she ejected two lovers from her bed – on separate occasions, I should explain – because they disagreed with her about the relationship between Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Adam’s Rib.

No, he’s not bene made up by the Observer. That really is him…



Posted: 10th, December 2009 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink