Zadie Smith's new novel is NW.
From her Q & A with Ted Hodgkinson for Granta:
Technology in the novel can act as a portal to fantasy, in Natalie/Keisha’s case, but can also prompt a ‘level of self-awareness literally unknown in the history of human existence’, to borrow a phrase from the book. Does being at such a historical moment signal a potential sea change in human behaviour and what kind of challenge does that pose to a novelist?--Marshal Zeringue
What it does to the novelist is only of concern to novelists; more interesting is what it does to people. Only two hundred years ago it was physically impossible to see yourself doing something you had done yesterday, that is, to see it in three dimensions, speaking and moving. It’s a miracle! It’s really unprecedented. The ancient myths thought that if we stared at ourselves in this way too long we’d fall in the water and drown. The myth preceded the technological reality (as seems to happen), but now we’re really here, relating to ourselves as objects. My daughter takes it completely for granted that the day after we go to the park I can show her a video of herself in the park. Two hundred years ago she would have thought she was having a dream, or losing her mind. Four hundred years ago she would have screamed and wept, denounced me to the elders of the village as a witch and dedicated herself to the Lord...
How has living and teaching for stretches in America impacted on your view of London? Was being away one of the things that led you back, in your fiction, to the place you started from?
It has made me weep with...[read on]