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On Beauty


Zadie Smith's "On Beauty" is a funny, powerful and moving story about love and family. Why do we fall in love with the people we do? Why do we visit our mistakes on our children? What makes life truly beautiful? Set in New England mainly and London partly, "On Beauty" concerns a pair of feuding families - the Belseys and the Kipps - and a clutch of doomed affairs. It puts low morals among high ideals and asks some searching questions about what life does to love. For the Belseys and the Kipps, the confusions - both personal and political - of our uncertain age are about to be brought close to home: right to the heart of family. "The novel I didn't want to finish, I was enjoying it so much". (John Sutherland, "Evening Standard"). "Thrums with intellectual sass and know-how". ("Literary Review"). "Delightfully entertaining ...filled with humour, generosity and contemporary sparkle". (Alex Clark, "Daily Telegraph"). "My novel of the year ...Delicious". (Liz Jones, "Evening Standard"). "Satirical, wise and sexy". ("Washington Post"). "Heartstopping". ("The Times Literary Supplement"). "A triumph, Smith's comedy shines". ("Daily Mail"). "Ambitious, hugely impressive, beautifully observed". ("Guardian"). Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. Her debut novel, "White Teeth", won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and the Commonwealth Writers' First Book Prize, and was included in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Her second novel, "On Beauty", was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has written two further novels, "The Autograph Man" and "NW", a collection of essays, "Changing My Mind", and also edited a short-story anthology, "The Book of Other People". Hide synopsis

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Reviews of On Beauty

Overall customer rating: 5.000
The Pageturner
by The Pageturner on Apr 1, 2011

With each page of this book, I became more deeply involved with the story. The language was spectacular and the humor was sophisticated. There were several times I laughed aloud because of clever puns and quick wit. I loved the characters and how the story evolved. The only thing that I slightly disliked is that the drama escalated too much and was drawn out for two long. Smith could have cut the book in half and still had an excellent story. As it became more complicated and complex, it was more difficult for my mind to follow and actually became stressing. However, I adore the quality of this book, it is a very rich read and I highly recommend it.


Smart and sassy

by WriteOn on Jun 17, 2008

This book was my introduction to Zadie Smith, and I still can't believe people haven't told me about her before. I am trained as a family therapist, and Smith captures the subtle and not-so-subtle quirks of family life with accuracy and style. A fresh, captivating read for lovers and haters of American culture.



by philart on Jan 22, 2008

Smith has the gift of creating beautiful and flawed characters - ones we love and hate simultaneously. Beyond the references to E.M. Forster and Rembrandt, she challenges her audience to question the value of beauty and the role it places in our lives. On Beauty is a superbly written novel, with the poetry of Nick Laird gracing its pages.


Smith's best novel so far

by Emily11507 on Jul 9, 2007

All of Zadie Smith's novels are brilliant, but On Beauty surpasses her earlier works for prose style, rhythm, character development, and plot movement. Everything about the novel is pitch perfect, and her loving satire on the academy matches the best of A. S. Byatt and David Lodge.

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Would recommend?: Yes  1 out of 1
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