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The Fraud

Zadie Smith author

Format:Paperback

Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:6th Jun '24

Should be back in stock very soon

This paperback is available in other editions too:

The Fraud cover

Book of the Year 2023 according to New York Times, New Yorker, Guardian, Economist, Observer, The Spectator, Financial Times, Vogue, The Times, The Oldie, i Paper, The Standard, Washington Post, Independent, Daily Express

SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WRITERS’ PRIZE FOR FICTION 2024
ONE OF SARAH JESSICA PARKER’S BEST BOOKS OF 2023
LONGLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION 2024


‘A writer at the peak of her powers’ The Telegraph

Truth and fiction. Jamaica and Britain. Who gets to tell their story?

In her first historical novel, Zadie Smith transports the reader to a Victorian England transfixed by the real-life trial of the Tichborne Claimant, in which a cockney butcher, recently returned from Australia, lays claim to the Tichborne baronetcy, with his former slave Andrew Bogle as star witness. Watching the proceedings, and with her own story to tell, is Eliza Touchet – cousin, housekeeper and perhaps more – to failing novelist William Harrison Ainsworth.

From literary London to the Jamaica’s sugar-cane plantations, Zadie Smith weaves an enthralling story linking the rich and the poor, the free and the enslaved, and the comic and the tragic.

‘It’s difficult to give any idea of how extraordinary this book is. One of the great historical novels, certainly. But has any historical novel ever combined such brilliantly researched and detailed history with such intensely imagined fiction?' Michael Frayn

‘As always it is a pleasure to be in Zadie Smith’s mind . . . Dickens may be dead, but Smith, thankfully, is alive’ New York Times

‘Zadie Smith’s Victorian-set masterpiece holds a mirror up to Britain . . . The Fraud is the genuine article’ Independent

‘Smith’s dazzling historical novel combines deft writing and strenuous construction in a tale of literary London and the horrors of slavery’ Guardian


Instant Sunday Times bestseller, September 2023

No one understands humans better. As this novel shows, there is no better guide to people and their bottomlessness than Smith herself * iNews *
This was really delightful. 10/10. Zadie Smith is a genius -- Brandon Taylor author of The Late Americans
A novel full of people, ideas, humour, feeling and something like moral truth – the stuff of life * Evening Standard *
Searingly original [and] virtuosic . . . the book masterfully depicts post-emancipation Britain as it ruptures along faultlines of class and race * Vogue *
Brilliant. A Dickensian delight * Los Angeles Times *
The Fraud is unlike anything you’ll read this year: a charismatic, cerebral novel that asks us to consider the greatest fraud of all, that of one man claiming to hold the key to another’s freedom * Irish Times *
Affecting and devastating . . . In typical Zadie style, the narrative structure and decade leaping require you to pay attention – but you’re heavily rewarded with the sheer breadth of the novel and its vividly painted characters * Independent, '24 best summer books 2024' *
A wonderful meditation on truth and falsehood, and the boundaries between fact and fiction * Spectator *
A big, rich saga, tumbling with characters and big issues (feminism, slavery, truth) * The Times, 'Best Novels of 2023' *
The Fraud is a complex mosaic of interweaving plots . . . The novel pulls off the trick of being both splendidly modern and authentically old and the characters are varied and entertaining * Independent, ‘Best Books of 2023’ *
Ambitious in both style and subject matter, and bursting with Smith’s trademark sprightly dialogue, The Fraud is also very funny * Guardian, 'Summer reading' *

ISBN: 9780241983096

Dimensions: 197mm x 128mm x 28mm

Weight: 322g

464 pages