59 pages 1 hour read

Zadie Smith

Swing Time

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2016

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Part 5Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 5: “Night and Day”

Part 5, Chapter 1 Summary

At age 18, the narrator is still living with her mother. Her mother has created a community center in their neighborhood, where she organizes political and cultural lectures and talks. Mercy has left the narrator’s father, who appears to the narrator to be lonely.

Part 5, Chapter 2 Summary

The narrator runs into Tracey, whom she hasn’t seen in a long time. Tracey tells her about her upcoming end-of-school revue, where she’ll audition for agents instead of taking exams. Tracey boasts that her father is building her a house, but when the narrator sees Tracey’s father with another woman and their children in a nearby neighborhood, she realizes that when Tracey fantasized about her father dancing for Michael Jackson, he was likely nearby. The narrator and Tracey can “no longer speak of intimate things” (244). When she tells her mother about Louie, her mother bursts into an emotional tirade about the lost men of Jamaica.

Louie believes that the community center rightfully belongs to him, so he sends one of his cronies to burn it down. The narrator’s mother relocates the lectures and talks to the church, indicating her political resiliency. She is elected to office.