Zadie outs England, novelists as packs of stupid gits

This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.

Zadie Smith’s forthcoming On Beauty looks to be another winner, based on early reports. But she’s already in trouble back across the pond for one of those marketing interviews given to New York magazine. In it, she expresses dismay over what’s become of the England she loved: “It’s the way people look at each other on the train; just general stupidity, madness, vulgarity, stupid TV shows, aspirational arseholes, money everywhere. It’s just a disgusting place.” The backlash has already begun. (“The novelist does not appear to be completely averse to the baser forms of commerce that she says she despises…”) Look for the phrase “aspirational arseholes” to appear in at least half of any UK media coverage on Zadie Smith for the next decade, at least.

Other juicy bits:

  • On her chances of making the short list: “No, there’s no chance. Have you seen the fucking [long] list?”
  • On novelists: “Writing a novel is quite stupid work…Novelists aren’t intellectuals; they’re just intuitive, if they’re lucky.”
  • On American reading culture: “In America only a few weirdos read. I mean, it seems like a lot of weirdos, but that’s because you’re a very big country.”

God, I hope she gives more interviews soon. She is pretty goddamn delightful, isn’t she?


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