Zadie Smith The Fraud


Code 9780241337004
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Truth and fiction. Jamaica and Britain. Who gets to tell their story? Zadie Smith returns with her first historical novel.

It is 1873. Mrs Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper - and cousin by marriage - of a once famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years.

Mrs Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her cousin, his wives, this life and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects her cousin of having no talent; his successful friend, Mr Charles Dickens, of being a bully and a moralist; and England of being a land of facades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

Andrew Bogle meanwhile grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica. He knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. That the rich deceive the poor. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realise. When Bogle finds himself in London, star witness in a celebrated case of imposture, he knows his future depends on telling the right story.

The 'Tichborne Trial' captivates Mrs Touchet and all of England. Is Sir Roger Tichborne really who he says he is? Or is he a fraud? Mrs Touchet is a woman of the world. Mr Bogle is no fool. But in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what is real proves a complicated task...

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity, and the mystery of 'other people.'


'A writer of remarkable wit and originality' Observer

'[Smith] packs more intelligence, humour and sheer energy into any given scene than anyone else of her generation' Sunday Telegraph

'A brilliant writer' A M Homes

'She's a genius' Dolly Alderton

'Zadie Smith is a national treasure' James Gleick

'A tremendous talent . . . Smith is simply wonderful' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

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'Dazzling [and] beautifully observed . . . Smith's dazzling historical novel combines deft writing and strenuous construction in a tale of literary London and the horrors of slavery'
- Alexandra Harris, Guardian

'This was really delightful. 10/10. Zadie Smith is a genius'
- Brandon Taylor

'It's hard to think of a living essayist who is better company on the page - walking you through her thoughts, curious about everything and everyone . . . There are few 21st-century English novelists who take such a relentless interest in our multitudes'
- Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Sunday Times

'Searingly original [and] virtuosic . . . the book masterfully depicts post-emancipation Britain as it ruptures along faultlines of class and race . . . Smith resists easy conclusions; she insists always on complexity and truth'
- Zing Tsjeng, Vogue

'A novel full of people, ideas, humour, feeling and something like moral truth - the stuff of life'
- Richard Godwin, Evening Standard

'The Fraud is brilliantly funny and sharply observed . . . Zadie Smith paints the Victorian era in vivid colour, offering us a clear view of the simmering tensions that gave birth to a growing and universal cry for freedom, shaking the notion of the benevolent British Empire'
- Paterson Joseph

'Mesmerising. A triumph of historical fiction'
- Publishers Weekly

'Her most commanding novel to date. This spectacularly entertaining and resonant historical novel will have enormous appeal'
- Booklist

'Extraordinary. Readers of Hilary Mantel will be enthralled'
- Library Journal


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