Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Zadie Smith's third novel
is a brilliant and very funny look at family life, marriage, the collision
of the personal and political, and an honest look at people's self-deceptions.
Howard Belsey is an Englishman abroad, an academic teaching in a small
college town in New England. Whilst he struggles to revive his passion
for his African-American wife Kiki, his three teenage children are seeking
loves, ideals and commitments of their own. And after Howard's disastrous
affair with a colleague, his sensitive eldest son Jerome escapes to London
for the holidays, where he defies everything the Belseys represent by
going to work for Trinidadian right-wing academic and pundit, Monty Kipps.
Jerome falls for Monty's beautiful, capricious daughter, Victoria, but
their short-lived romance has long-lasting consequences, drawing these
very different families into each other's lives...
Zadie Smith clearly
knows how to weave an intricate story, some of us may not recognise the
characters but that does not mean they don't exist. A perfect mixed-race
novel that contains something for everyone. What's exciting about On
Beauty is that we get a chance to see into the lives of people we might
not otherwise get to know. And then of course we come to realise that
they suffer from the same ups and downs we all do.
On Beauty is available to buy at most good bookstores.