"Twenty-first century London: rich and poor, black and white, joyful and melancholy, boring and deviant - occasionally lethal. Somewhere in the northwest of the city stands the Caldwell housing estate, a relic of '70s urban planning. Leah, an administrator for the lottery, grew up there. So did her best friend, Natalie, now a barrister, and Felix, an MG car mechanic. Thirty years later these Caldwell kids and their partners live only a few streets apart, yet inhabit separate worlds. Until the day a desperate local woman comes to Leah's door seeking help - and forces Leah out of her isolation. But is Shar a stranger or a friend? Sincere or a fraud? A connection to the past or a threat to the future? From private dinner tables to public parks, at work and at play, in this delicate but devastating novel of encounters Zadie Smith's Londoners find themselves navigating an increasingly atomized society. For some the city remains a place of happy accidents and chance good fortune, while for others it is darker terrain in which the main streets hide the back alleys, and taking the high road can sometimes lead to a dead end. NW brilliantly depicts this modern urban zone - familiar to city dwellers everywhere - in a tragicomic novel as mercurial as the city itself."--Publisher.