59 pages 1 hour read

Zadie Smith

Swing Time

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2016

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Part 3

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3: “Intermission”

Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

Six years after taking the personal assistant job, the narrator accompanies Aimee to West Africa, where Aimee donates money to build a school. Aimee doesn’t believe in religions or governments as advocates for change—she believes that only individuals can change their situation, a privileged understanding of change that the narrator’s mother doesn’t approve of. Aimee believes in her own energetic power to make the world a better place. She also believes in manifestation and timing; when she hired the narrator, the YTV offices burned down.

Part 3, Chapter 2 Summary

To the narrator, Aimee seems to transcend the emotional and physical problems that most adults deal with; Aimee works hard and is always charged with energy. The narrator, who has been working for Aimee for seven years, has moved to New York City for the job.

Now, she reads a book while Aimee rehearses. Though the narrator is impressed by Aimee’s dancing, she keeps reading—something that “was seen, by the rest of the team, as deeply impractical and I think in some sense fundamentally disloyal” (132). Aimee decides they should go out dancing and drinking, though she’s forgotten that it’s the narrator’s 30th birthday.

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By Zadie Smith