Out of all the “writers riffing amidst a pandemic” offerings so far, “Intimations: Six Essays” is a fine contribution, simply because Zadie Smith is such a rhythmic, complex, intelligent stylist. No matter whether she is talking about the guilt we all feel during Covid-19, the notion that we must not complain, or exploring the dynamics of random street encounters, Smith grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck and propels her along. A withering blast against the contempt infecting modern politics and discourse sits alongside a reflection on an extremist sign holder in a public square. Intimations backs you away from obsession with masks, numbers, and horrors, into a more nuanced, prospective view. Recommended if you’re like me and need the balm of excellent writing in these troubled times.