Narrator and point of view

The short story “The Lazy River” by Zadie Smith is narrated in the present tense. The narrator also makes use of the past tense when she recounts things that have happened prior to the moment of narration. For example, “But karaoke was last night (…)”. She also briefly employs the future tense when anticipating how things will evolve: “A year when they will be no older than we are now”.

The narration is mainly constructed from a first-person point of view. It usually takes the plural form, as the narrator tells the story while being part of a group that acts as a single entity: “For in this hotel we are all British, we are en masse, we are unashamed. We enjoy one another’s company”. The narrator additionally employs a first-person singular narrative mode when she differentiates herself from the group: “(…) a book, held only for the duration of the photograph and—though perhaps only I noticed this—upside down”. The narration also occas...

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