Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 446
Reason for Reading : Book Awards Reading Challenge, Man Booker Challenge and I loved White Teeth

Two families, the Belseys and the Kippses, are at war. The fathers are professional rivals and the children partially follow suit. Somehow fate seems destined to keep bringing them together. Whether it be an ill-judged engagement, an unexpected friendship or an illicit affair for one who should have learnt by now how destructive it could be.

It looks at Love and Beauty and our ideals of the two. Why do we love who we love, why do we keep repeating the same mistakes time and time again and what exactly is beauty, is it a physical thing, something poetical or lyrical or something more spiritual. What really makes this book is the characters. Both families (although we learn far more about the Belseys and their motivations) have a great set of members with their own interests and characteristics. On the side of the Belseys is Howard (father) and Kiki (mother), 20 year old son Jerome who has found Christianity and is a virgin, studious daughter Zora who is very self righteous and youngest son Levi who has affected a Brooklyn accent and listens to hip hop. Opposite are the Kippses, Monty and Carlene (parents) along with mostly absent son Michael and daughter Victoria (Vee) who is just discovering her sexuality and the power she holds.

Her prose really draws you in, I was hooked after the first page and knew I was going to love it already! I couldn't wait to see how it would all play out. I enjoyed this book immensley and can see why it has recieved such high praise and awards/nominations. I am looking forward to reading The Autograph Man in the future.


Ana S. said...

This sounds so good! I got a copy for my birthday and I'll be reading it once I get back. I'm looking forward to it even more now!

Nyssaneala said...

I didn't like this one nearly as much as White Teeth, but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Rhinoa said...

Nymeth - I really hope you enjoy it. Have you read any of her other books?

Nyssaneala - Funnily enough my mum said exactly the same thing to me when I told her I had just read it yesterday on the phone! I can't decide which I like best, they are both very cool.

Literary Feline said...

I have been debating about whether or not I want to read this book. I am glad you reviewed it! I think I will have to get this one after all. Thanks for the great review.

Alice said...

Thanks for the great review, Rhinoa! I've read this some time ago and I love it too. :)