Speaking of Zadie

Gautam Malkani, a British writer whose first novel sparked a bidding war when it was circulated among editors, has been dubbed the “new Zadie Smith.” No word on what his cheekbones look like, but I’m sure they’ll find something in his looks to comment on. The Zadie label was also applied to Diana Evans, another author making her debut. Says Anitha Sethi:

And yet, if I hear the term “the new Zadie/Monica” one more time I may be forced to kill myself by banging my head against the pavement of Brick Lane. It’s something that young non-white authors are finding increasingly difficult to escape: the young half-Nigerian writer Diana Evans found herself tagged in the press as “the new Zadie” though her novel is an exploration of a twin sister’s suicide. Since publishing has in recent years become more publicity-driven, the first question from the putative bookseller is: “What is the book comparable to?”

Apparently, no one thinks of asking: “Is it any good?”