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On Beauty

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Winner of the 2006 Orange Prize for fiction, another bestselling masterwork from the celebrated author of White Teeth 

Having hit bestseller lists from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle, this wise, hilarious novel reminds us why Zadie Smith has rocketed to literary stardom. On Beauty is the story of an interracial family living in the university town of Wellington, Massachusetts, whose misadventures in the culture wars-on both sides of the Atlantic-serve to skewer everything from family life to political correctness to the combustive collision between the personal and the political. Full of dead-on wit and relentlessly funny, this tour de force confirms Zadie Smith's reputation as a major literary talent.

Zadie Smith’s newest novel, Swing Time, was published by Penguin Press in November 2016.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 01, 2005 – Truly human, fully ourselves, beautiful," muses a character in Smith's third novel, an intrepid attempt to explore the sad stuff of adult life, 21st century style: adultery, identity crises and emotional suffocation, interracial and intraracial global conflicts and religious zealotry. Like Smith's smash debut, White Teeth (2000), this work gathers narrative steam from the clash between two radically different families, with a plot that explicitly parallels Howards End. A failed romance between the evangelical son of the messy, liberal Belseys Howard is Anglo-WASP and Kiki African-American and the gorgeous daughter of the staid, conservative, Anglo-Caribbean Kipps leads to a soulful, transatlantic understanding between the families' matriarchs, Kiki and Carlene, even as their respective husbands, the art professors Howard and Monty, amass mat riel for the culture wars at a fictional Massachusetts university. Meanwhile, Howard and Kiki must deal with Howard's extramarital affair, as their other son, Levi, moves from religion to politics. Everyone theorizes about art, and everyone searches for connections, sexual and otherwise. A very simple but very funny joke that Howard, a Rembrandt scholar, hates Rembrandt allows Smith to discourse majestically on some of the master's finest paintings. The articulate portrait of daughter Zora depicts the struggle to incorporate intellectual values into action. The elaborate Forster homage, as well as a too-neat alignment between characters, concerns and foils, threaten Smith's insightful probing of what makes life complicated (and beautiful), but those insights eventually add up. "There is such a shelter in each other," Carlene tells Kiki; it's a take on Forster's "Only Connect ," but one that finds new substance here.

Customer Reviews

On Beauty

Zadie Smith is bona fide literary genius. Her descriptions are so vivid and easily perceived, you feel as though you're not only in the novel, but that the characters are right there next to you acting out their story lines.

Her other two (White Teeth, Autograph Man) were every bit as endearing, but for some reason, neither is available on the exquisite IPAD yet.

Best of luck with all future endeavors Zadie!

On Beauty

Wonderful book.I expected a less than lovely ending. This ending was no ending. Expected provocative but really had hoped for more.

On Beauty
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Sep 13, 2005
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 464 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings