Towards a Postmigrant Reading of Literature: An Analysis of Zadie Smith’s NW
This chapter develops a postmigrant frame of analysis in interaction with a reading of Zadie Smith’s novel NW (2012). It traces overlaps between postmigrant theory and recent developments in the study of black British literature and draws comparisons between postcolonial diasporic readings of black British literature and a novel like NW, in which migration reads doubly as an omnipresent and visible force of change that is also disappearing into the inconspicuousness of the commonplace in everyday life. The chapter focuses in particular on how the concepts of identity, belonging and race – which have always been central to the study of migration – change in their meaning and in the way they work when ‘de-migratized’ in a postmigrant reading perspective. The chapter ends with a postmigrant reading of the collective ‘we’ that emerges from the omniscient narrative voice of Smith’s novel.