Book Review: THE AUTOGRAPH MAN, by Zadie Smith

To me, it seems like every vaguely successful author is hailed, at some point in their career, as the "voice of a generation"--for an author under thirty, this cliche may be altered to "voice of the next generation."

What that means, I have no idea.

Or, I had no idea until I came across Zadie Smith's THE AUTOGRAPH MAN, which seems to encompass--without being melodramatic, dull or self-indulgent--the very essence, somehow, of the issues my generation deals with. Somehow, Smith does seem to be the "voice of a (next) generation."

I'm really not sure how to flesh that out, but I know I mean it, and in one last attempt to back it up, I'll say this: without referencing iPods and other embarrassingly "relevant" things, Smith burrows right into the weird uncertainty an entire generation can feel when their sole purpose seems to be purchasing and admiring objects, whether these objects be gadgets, lifestyles or (as in the case of celebrities) people.


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