Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke and Russell.
Five identical blocks make up the Caldwell housing estate in North West London.
If you grew up in this relic of seventies urban design, the plan was to get out and get on, to something better, somewhere else. Thirty years later, Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan have all moved on, with varying degrees of success - whatever that means. Living only streets apart, they occupy separate worlds, and navigate an atomized city in which few care to be their neighbour's keeper.
Then one April afternoon a stranger comes to Leah's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, and forcing Leah out of her isolation . . .
From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, where the main streets hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end, NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters.
Depicting the modern urban zone - familiar to town-dwellers everywhere - Zadie Smith's brilliant tragi-comic new novel is as mercurial and vital as the city itself.