59 pages 1 hour read

Zadie Smith

Swing Time

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2016

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Part 7 and Epilogue

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 7: “Late Days”

Part 7, Chapter 1 Summary

It’s been eight years since the narrator has seen Tracey. She’s on a date with Kramer, a date set up by Aimee. As Kramer and the narrator walk around London, the narrator sees an advertisement for Showboat in the West End, a revival that Tracey is in. Kramer and the narrator attend the show. In the program, the narrator discovers that Tracey has changed her name to the more sophisticated-sounding Tracee Le Roy. Tracee’s bio is disappointing. Compared to the other dancers in the show, Tracee’s professional experience is sparse and reveals that she hasn’t graduated from a performing arts academy. Still, the narrator feels defensive of Tracey because of “the huge statistical unlikelihood of my friend standing on this stage, or any stage at all” (357). The narrator is frustrated while watching Showboat because it belittles the Black performers, and its version of the antebellum South whitewashes Black history. She takes her frustrations out on Kramer, and the date is a failure, but the narrator doesn’t care because she only cares about Tracey. The narrator waits for Tracey at the stage door. When Tracey’s mother pulls up in a car with two young children in the back, the narrator leaves without saying hello.

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By Zadie Smith