> Skip to content
Play sample
  • Published: 12 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241337004
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $34.99

The Fraud

The chronicler of contemporary London, acclaimed and bestselling author Zadie Smith, returns with her first historical novel

Kilburn, 1873. The 'Tichborne Trial' has captivated the widowed Scottish housekeeper Mrs Eliza Touchet and all of England. Readers are at odds over whether the defendant is who he claims to be - or an imposter.

Mrs Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her novelist cousin and his wives, this life and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects England of being a land of façades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

Andrew Bogle meanwhile finds himself the star witness, his future depending on telling the right story. Growing up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica, he knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. That the rich deceive the poor. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realise.

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about how in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what's true can prove a complicated task.

  • Published: 12 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241337004
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. She is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time, as well as The Embassy of Cambodia and the essay collection, Changing My Mind. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has twice been listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists. She has won the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award among many others, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books.

Also by Zadie Smith

See all

Praise for The Fraud

No one understands humans better. As this novel shows, there is no better guide to people and their bottomlessness than Smith herself


This was really delightful. 10/10. Zadie Smith is a genius

Brandon Taylor author of The Late Americans

A novel full of people, ideas, humour, feeling and something like moral truth – the stuff of life

Evening Standard

Searingly original [and] virtuosic . . . the book masterfully depicts post-emancipation Britain as it ruptures along faultlines of class and race


Brilliant. A Dickensian delight

Los Angeles Times

The Fraud is unlike anything you’ll read this year: a charismatic, cerebral novel that asks us to consider the greatest fraud of all, that of one man claiming to hold the key to another’s freedom

Irish Times

A wonderful meditation on truth and falsehood, and the boundaries between fact and fiction


A big, rich saga, tumbling with characters and big issues (feminism, slavery, truth)

The Times, 'Best Novels of 2023'

The Fraud is a complex mosaic of interweaving plots . . . The novel pulls off the trick of being both splendidly modern and authentically old and the characters are varied and entertaining

Independent, ‘Best Books of 2023’

Discover more

The best books to read with your book club in autumn 2024

These are the Penguin Random House books that over 80,000 book clubs voted as the best group reads this month.

An ultimate guide to Zadie Smith

Learn about Zadie Smith's incredible books. You're sure to find a new favourite on this list!