Its been seven years since Smith last published a novel, so were all really chaffing to read this one. NW stands for northwest, that is, northwest London, where a group of friends living on an estate make their way through school and on to adulthood, staying more or less true to their ideals.
Somewhere in Northwest London stands Caldwell housing estate, a relic of 70s urban planning. Thirty years later four ex-Caldwell kids have all made it out, with varying degrees of success--whatever that means. Living only streets apart, they occupy separate worlds.