It’s my sense that no matter how many books and movies and songs declaim the wholesome beauty of family life, the truth is ‘the family’ is always an event of some violence. It’s only years later, in that retrospective swirl, that you work out who was hurt, in what way, and how badly.

Zadie Smith, from “The Bathroom,” in Feel Free: Essays

How is it possible to hate something so completely and then suddenly love it so unreasonably?

Zadie Smith, from “Some Notes on Attunements,” in Feel Free: Essays

People ask: what’s it like standing up there? It’s like eating your own heart out. It’s like there’s nobody out there in the dark at all.

Zadie Smith, from “‘Crazy They Call Me,’” in Feel Free: Essays