‘I tell you, this is the only business in this world where any man may take the fruits of another man’s labour—his sweat and his tears—and pay him not a damn penny for it—all the while getting rich himself!’
That statement on the travails of the creative writer comes from Charles Dickens—or rather, a fictional version of the beloved writer, who appears in Zadie Smith’s new novel “The Fraud.” This capacious tale of one family’s involvement in a legal case of impersonation and inheritance finds Dickens and his colleagues William Makepeace Thackeray and George Cruikshank rubbing elbows with Ms. Smith’s own creations, to exuberant effect.
As Sam Sacks writes in his review, “Ms. Smith has always been superb at conjuring voices . . . and the scenes come to life in whirlwinds of dialogue that hurl together working-class cant, Caribbean patois and Queen’s English.” Dickens couldn’t have done it better. Read the review