Uncertainty has perhaps become the most popular descriptor of our new pandemic lives. Obviously, the future has no proper blueprint at the moment, so we are urged to be patient, pliant. But while we brace ourselves for that imperceptible future, we fail to follow the advice. Even as they tell us to be open to undefined days, endless articles and Instagram posts speculate about what those days will look like. The contradiction is strange, of course, but also perhaps a necessary crutch. We can only find our way about a world whose dimensions we can articulate.
Intimations: Six Essays, Zadie Smith’s latest book, rests on this conundrum. Written in the early weeks of the pandemic (until May), it offers no conclusive take on how to deal with the strangeness of these times or how to remake the future. Instead, it’s a wading through the uncertainty that accompanies crisis. Slender