49 pages 1 hour read

Zadie Smith


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2012

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Part 3, Pages 201-235

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3, Pages 201-212 Summary

The third part of NW begins with the story of how Keisha (later Natalie) Blake and Leah Hanwell meet and bond. One day when they are children, Keisha pulls the nearly drowned Leah from a pool. Consequently, Leah and Keisha become inseparable friends. “Host” tells their story through a series of short anecdotes and observations, some only a sentence long, that jump around from topic to topic. 

Leah and Keisha have very similar likes and dislikes. However, Keisha’s awareness of the class differences between the Blakes and the Hanwells grows. She sometimes envies or mimics her friend’s family. When Leah visits her house, for instance, Keisha attempts to make tea the way the Hanwells do; yet when Keisha’s father Augustus (Gus), a plumber, takes the two to McDonald’s for lunch, they squeal with delight. On the walk back, they run into Pauline (a nurse studying to become a radiographer), who tells Leah she needs to go with her.  

Keisha is intelligent and curious, once asking Leah’s father, Colin Hanwell, what talk radio is, as she cannot fathom what it means to listen to something other than music on the radio. Leah and Keisha both enroll at Brayton Comprehensive. As Keisha’s academic confidence grows, she marvels at Leah’s burgeoning social consciousness and interests in areas like animal rights, poverty, and war.