To make the collection, Zadie Smith commissioned 22 short stories from 22 writers and then added one of her own. The brief, as she explains in her introduction, was simple: “make somebody up”.
Smith’s appealing list of contributors includes David Mitchell, AL Kennedy, ZZ Packer, Nick Hornby, Edwidge Danti-cat, Vendela Vida, Eggers and Colm Toibin. Graphic novelists Chris Ware, Posy Sim-monds and Daniel Clowes have drawn their stories, and the book is pretty, with a crafty, McSweeney’s-ish feel. A few of the contributions are bright but empty and generate the feeling that comes over the recently chugged. But others would be good even if they weren’t also making you feel good.