Zadie Smith’s novella The Embassy of Cambodia explores the theme of otherness through Fatou’s journey as an African immigrant who moves to different countries in search of a better life. The novella explores the ways Fatou appears as an outsider in different scenarios.
At the pool Fatou goes to, she notes that the other people tend to be very different from her: “she is often the youngest person in the pool by several decades. Generally, the clientele are white, or else South Asian or from the Middle East”. This description shows that Fatou does not appear to belong in this place, which is later shown to be because she secretly uses her employers’ guest passes to the health center as she cannot afford a membership.
While thinking back to the time she wor...