The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith
A Novel

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Synopsis

Alex-Li Tandem sells autographs. His business is to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell them, and occasionally fake them—all to give the people what they want: a little piece of Fame. But what does Alex want? Only the return of his father, the end of religion, something for his headache, three different girls, infinite grace, and the rare autograph of forties movie actress Kitty Alexander. With fries.

The Autograph Man is a deeply funny existential tour around the hollow trappings of modernity: celebrity, cinema, and the ugly triumph of symbol over experience. It offers further proof that Zadie Smith is one of the most staggeringly talented writers of her generation.



From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Zadie Smith

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ZADIE SMITH was born in Northwest London in 1975. She is the author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and the essay collection Changing My Mind.
 
Published August 12, 2003 by Vintage. 368 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Autograph Man

Kirkus Reviews

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The real love of Alex-li’s insular life is reclusive former screen beauty Kitty Alexander, and the quest for her rare signature takes him to conventions and auctions, misadventures with a host of walk-on weirdos (a trio of rabbis, commenting like a Borscht-Belt Jewish Greek chorus;

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The Guardian

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The Autograph Man Zadie Smith Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp432 The Booker Prize is hardly a lottery, but the books that go through at each stage tend to be the ones with fewest enemies, not the ones with most friends.

Sep 08 2002 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith 419pp, Hamish Hamilton, £16.99 If the downside of literary celebrity is that people gossip nastily about you in print and take pictures of you with no make-up on, then the advantage is that your publishers don't mind footing the bill for the gold type embosse...

Sep 14 2002 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Over the course of the week, he wrecks his car on an acid trip, goes to New York in quest of the legendary retired actress Kitty Alexander, frees her from her mad manager (who promptly announces her death to the papers, thus inflating the value of her signature) and gets his girlfriend Esther, Ad...

Sep 30 2002 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

BC Books

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Random juxtapositions are capable of producing wonderful witticism and occasional insight, but when this is done with a conceptual framework for a novel, the result is sometimes enjoyable and occasionally interestingly constructed, but eventually unrecognisable and probably meaningless.

Aug 11 2009 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

BC Books

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In her novel The Autograph Man, Zadie Smith takes a comic tour of several aspects of twenty-first century life.

Aug 11 2009 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

Book Reporter

That's why I could relate somewhat to Alex-Li Tandem, the autograph man, the main character in Zadie Smith's new novel and follow up to her stunning award-winning WHITE TEETH.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

AV Club

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One of the most auspicious debut novels in recent years, Zadie Smith's White Teeth laced a tale of intergenerational culture-swirl with...

Nov 01 2016 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

AV Club

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One of the most auspicious debut novels in recent years, Zadie Smith's White Teeth laced a tale of intergenerational culture-swirl with tension derived from Smith's real-time growth as a writer.

Oct 07 2002 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

People

Smith hits on some funny ideas—on a bender, Alex drinks alphabetically, starting with absinthe and making it as far as muscadet—but the point of the novel seems as scattered as Alex's brain.

Oct 14 2002 | Read Full Review of The Autograph Man: A Novel

London Review of Books

Each chapter has a cute digest at its head, announcing the delights on offer: ‘Alex-Li Tandem was Jewish – A rainbow over Mountjoy – Hand-print – Superstar – Princess Grace – Marvin is a milk operative – Alex’s feminine goy side.’ Each of these chapter digests continues a running joke: ‘Muhammad ...

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Project MUSE

"Abulafia believed that, by concentrating on letters, the mind could loose itself from its shackles to commune with a presence greater than itself, .

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Reader Rating for The Autograph Man
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