the next good book

The Fraud

By Zadie Smith

8.5/10
(8.5/10)

454 pages

What’s it about?

In 1873 Mrs. Eliza Touchet finds herself looking back on her life.  She has spent the last thirty years as the housekeeper to her cousin-by-marriage William Ainsworth.  William is a prominent novelist whose popularity has been going straight down hill for almost as long as she has been employed.  We see much of the 1800’s through Mrs. Touchet’s eyes- and it is quite a view.

What did it make me think about?

Mrs. Eliza Touchet was just a great literary character.

Should I read it?

Well I swore I would never read another Zadie Smith novel after diligently suffering through “White Teeth” back in 2000.  It was unanimously disliked among my whole book club- even after we discussed it.  And yet, it is supposedly Zadie Smith’s best book…. If I read it now would I like it any better?  Doubtful! So, I was biased against this book and ended up really enjoying it.  “The Fraud” was about 100 pages too long but Mrs. Touchet made the whole novel worth reading.  What a great character Zadie Smith created- and how interesting to see London through her eyes. So many subjects are touched on in this novel that I cannot begin to list them all.  Power, freedom, and what we see as truth were probably the themes that struck me most- but you could talk about this novel for a long time.  I am glad I lifted my Zadie Smith ban for this one.  Who knew she had such a great sense of humor?  “She had come out of curiosity.  As much as Eliza hated awful people, she also could never resist them.”  I think any bookclub would have a great discussion about this novel. Quote- “Was he really good or did he only want to be seen to be good?  Does it matter?”

What’s it about?

In 1873 Mrs. Eliza Touchet finds herself looking back on her life.  She has spent the last thirty years as the housekeeper to her cousin-by-marriage William Ainsworth.  William is a prominent novelist whose popularity has been going straight down hill for almost as long as she has been employed.  We see much of the 1800’s through Mrs. Touchet’s eyes- and it is quite a view.

What did it make me think about?

Mrs. Eliza Touchet was just a great literary character.

Should I read it?

Well I swore I would never read another Zadie Smith novel after diligently suffering through “White Teeth” back in 2000.  It was unanimously disliked among my whole book club- even after we discussed it.  And yet, it is supposedly Zadie Smith’s best book…. If I read it now would I like it any better?  Doubtful!

So, I was biased against this book and ended up really enjoying it.  “The Fraud” was about 100 pages too long but Mrs. Touchet made the whole novel worth reading.  What a great character Zadie Smith created- and how interesting to see London through her eyes. So many subjects are touched on in this novel that I cannot begin to list them all.  Power, freedom, and what we see as truth were probably the themes that struck me most- but you could talk about this novel for a long time.  I am glad I lifted my Zadie Smith ban for this one.  Who knew she had such a great sense of humor?  “She had come out of curiosity.  As much as Eliza hated awful people, she also could never resist them.”  I think any bookclub would have a great discussion about this novel.

Quote-

“Was he really good or did he only want to be seen to be good?  Does it matter?”

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