‘A writer at the peak of her powers’ The Telegraph
Truth and fiction. Jamaica and Britain. Who gets to tell their story? Zadie Smith returns with her first historical novel.
Kilburn, 1873. The 'Tichborne Trial' has captivated the widowed Scottish housekeeper Mrs Eliza Touchet and all of England. Readers are at odds over whether the defendant is who he claims to be - or an imposter.
Mrs Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her novelist cousin and his wives, this life and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects England of being a land of façades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.
Andrew Bogle meanwhile finds himself the star witness, his future depending on telling the right story. Growing up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica, he knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. That the rich deceive the poor. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realise.
Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about how in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what's true can prove a complicated task.
PRAISE FOR THE FRAUD:
‘Zadie Smith is the voice of the 21st century’ The Sunday Times
‘Searingly original . . . the book masterfully depicts post-emancipation Britain as it ruptures along faultlines of class and race’ Zing Tsjeng, Vogue
Dazzling [and] beautifully observed . . . Smith’s dazzling historical novel combines deft writing and strenuous construction in a tale of literary London and the horrors of slavery -- Alexandra Harris * Guardian *
This was really delightful. 10/10. Zadie Smith is a genius -- Brandon Taylor
It’s hard to think of a living essayist who is better company on the page — walking you through her thoughts, curious about everything and everyone . . . There are few 21st-century English novelists who take such a relentless interest in our multitudes -- Johanna Thomas-Corr * The Sunday Times *
Searingly original [and] virtuosic . . . the book masterfully depicts post-emancipation Britain as it ruptures along faultlines of class and race . . . Smith resists easy conclusions; she insists always on complexity and truth -- Zing Tsjeng * Vogue *
A novel full of people, ideas, humour, feeling and something like moral truth – the stuff of life -- Richard Godwin * Evening Standard *
The Fraud is brilliantly funny and sharply observed . . . Zadie Smith paints the Victorian era in vivid colour, offering us a clear view of the simmering tensions that gave birth to a growing and universal cry for freedom, shaking the notion of the benevolent British Empire -- Paterson Joseph
Mesmerising. A triumph of historical fiction * Publishers Weekly (starred review) *
Her most commanding novel to date. This spectacularly entertaining and resonant historical novel will have enormous appeal * Booklist (starred review) *
Extraordinary. Readers of Hilary Mantel will be enthralled * Library Journal (starred review) *
Dimensions: 240mm x 162mm x 41mm