Zadie Smith homes in on her cherished ‘hood with the precision of a surgeon disecting the diverging lives of a handful young 21st century Londoners in the NW quarter of her title. They share the same dystopian estate and secondary school as starting points that do not exactly help commonality in later life and although they are in their thirties during the main  action of the novel some make it, some don’t. Some are “Invited to the party” and some are not. What is impressive is that Zadie Smith is an author who loves literature and wants to “author ” newness, sharp focus and harrowing brightness showing up the cracks in the wall, and in the general makeup of her characters. At times a stunning book NW will be read and re-read by booklovers and critics alike. It needs careful scrutiny for maximum enjoyment.

Hamish Hamilton / Hardback /£18.99 / 9780241144145

Philip Maltman