The time setting of the novella The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith is not explicitly specified, but the story is most likely set in the late summer or fall of 2012. This can be inferred from the mention of the London Olympics, which took place in 2012: “This summer we watched the Olympics”. Another clue that points to the time setting is that Fatou noticed the badminton at the Cambodian Embassy on August 6th, placing the story after that point.
The novella’s physical setting is the neighborhood of Willesden in North-West London. The novella mentions several real-life locations in London such as Eltham, Kensal Rise, Kilburn High Road, or Acton Central station. This helps to offer authenticity to the setting and to make the story more believable. Several locations in particular have special importance, especially in the way the main character, Fatou,...