Recommended read: “Crazy They Call Me” by Zadie Smith

For the New Yorker‘s March 6 2017 issue, Zadie Smith penned a short story that appears to to be part of her dance and song Golden Age stream. Crazy They Call Me is an homage to Billie Holliday, featuring a singing Zadie.

Smith writes in the second person – further experimenting with voice. To ease your day, stick your earbuds in and listen to Zadie say it herself. There is strength in brevity: the text is packed with memorable lines. The voice is strong and enticing, the language playful.

Some of it made me think of Jackie Kay’s “The First Lady of Song” from the short story collection Reality, Reality in which fellow jazz supernova Ella Fitzgerald is featured. All of it felt both original and authentic. A 15-minute delight.


Women are wary, lover men come and go and mostly leave you waiting, and, truth be told, even those dear boys who make the highballs have their own thing going on, more often than not. But you’re not afraid to look for love in all kinds of places. Once upon a time there was that wild girl Tallulah, plus a few other ladies, back in the day, but there was no way to be in the world like that, not back then—or no way you could see—and anyhow most of those ladies were crazier than a box of frogs. Nobody’s perfect. Which is another way of saying there’s no escape from this world. And so sometimes, on a Friday night, after the singing is over and the clapping dies down, there’s simply no one and nothing to be done. You fall back on yourself. Backstage empties out, but they’re still serving. You’re not in the mood for conversation.

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