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On beauty: a novel

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Howard Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering professor at Wellington, a liberal New England arts college. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer resembles the sexy activist she once was. Their three children passionately pursue their own paths: Levi quests after authentic blackness, Zora believes that intellectuals can redeem everybody, and Jerome struggles to be a believer in a family of strict atheists. Faced with the oppressive enthusiasms of his children, Howard feels that the first two acts of his life are over and he has no clear plans for the finale. Or the encore.

Then Jerome, Howard's older son, falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing icon Monty Kipps, and the two families find themselves thrown together in a beautiful corner of America, enacting a cultural and personal war against the background of real wars that they barely register. An infidelity, a death, and a legacy set in motion a chain of events that sees all parties forced to examine the unarticulated assumptions which underpin their lives. How do you choose the work on which to spend your life? Why do you love the people you love? Do you really believe what you claim to? And what is the beautiful thing, and how far will you go to get it?

Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Zadie Smith's third novel is a brilliant analysis of family life, the institution of marriage, intersections of the personal and political, and an honest look at people's deceptions. It is also, as you might expect, very funny indeed.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 9caed927-4f24-052c-50ce-f0a78b697717
Grouping Title on beauty
Grouping Author smith zadie
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2020-06-04 22:44:30PM
Last Indexed 2020-06-03 23:50:56PM

Solr Details

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author Zadie Smith
author_display Smith, Zadie
available_at_catalog Bordeaux
Green Hills
Green Hills Kids
collection_catalog Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Bellevue - Adult Fiction
Bordeaux - Adult Fiction
Green Hills - Adult Fiction
display_description 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.
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publishDate 2005
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ils:CARL0000248874 Book Books English Penguin Press, c2005. 445 p. ; 25 cm.
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subject_facet College teachers -- Fiction
Racially mixed children -- Fiction
title_display On beauty : a novel
title_full On Beauty
On beauty : a novel / by Zadie Smith
title_short On beauty :
title_sub a novel
topic_facet College teachers
Racially mixed children