49 pages 1 hour read

Zadie Smith


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2012

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Part 1, Pages 64-109

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “Visitation”

Part 1, Pages 64-89 Summary

Leah arrives at an abortion clinic after hoping to find an old wives’ method that works. While there, she reflects on her earlier abortions and the female lovers she had in the past. Though she finds the process of getting the abortion relatively painless, she feels “ashamed before an imagined nobody who isn’t real and yet monitors our thoughts” (65).

Leah and Michel visit their friends Frank and Natalie (whose birth name is Keisha Blake) De Angelis, a barrister and a banker. Natalie and Leah reminisce about old Brayton schoolmates, trying to pin down who exactly Shar was. Michel interjects to say that Shar and her companions are probably addicts and pimps. From there, the conversation shifts to more mundane themes: children, boarding school, Michel’s day trading. Leah catches Michel looking longingly at one of Frank and Natalie’s kids. 

Natalie has been looking for a church to get her kids into so that they can eventually enroll in a quality school. Leah accompanies her to look at one Pauline suggested, a country church in a decrepit neighborhood. Leah and Natalie stop to look at the old tombstones, musing on the past. Leah faints and then recovers in the company of her mother.