With little immediate plot (or even complete sentences) to bind its sections together, Zadie Smith’s walking tour of multicultural North West London that is NW (Penguin, Sept. 4) is more like director Richard Curtis’ Love, Actually than any of the novelist’s past works. Well, grimier, and without Curtis’ loving happy endings. Smith (author of the innovative White Teeth and the incisive On Beauty) approaches NW almost like a script, with oddly interlocking interactions and barely there chats between ambition-driven Jamaican Brit Natalie, her socially conscious onetime dole-mate Leah and additional characters who cross their paths. Opposing visions of council-flat living, race, money and class emerge as does random opinion, occasional violence and heartbreak. That’s how you know you’re reading Zadie Smith.
Tue., Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m., $6 (simulcast only), Free Library, Central Branch, 1901 Vine St., 800-595-4849, freelibrary.org.