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On Beauty - Zadie Smith

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

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On Beauty - Zadie Smith

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

In an author's note at the end of On Beauty, Zadie Smith writes: "My largest structural ... more

debt should be obvious to any E.M. Forster fan;
suffice it to say he gave me a classy old frame,
which I covered with new material as best I
could."  If it is true that imitation is the
sincerest form of flattery, Forster, perched on a
cloud somewhere, should be all puffed up with
pride. His disciple has taken Howards End, that
marvelous tale of class difference, and upped the
ante by adding race, politics, and gender.  The
end result is a story for the 21st century, told
with a perfect ear for everything: gangsta street
talk; academic posturing, both British and
American; down-home black Floridian straight talk;
and sassy, profane kids, both black and white.   
Howard Belsey is a middle-class white liberal
Englishman teaching abroad at Wellington, a thinly
disguised version of one of the Ivies.  He is a
Rembrandt scholar who can't finish his book and a
recent adulterer whose marriage is now on the
slippery slope to disaster.  His wife, Kiki, a
black Floridian, is a warm, generous, competent
wife, mother, and medical worker.  Their children
are Jerome, disgusted by his father's behavior,
Zora, Wellington sophomore firebrand feminist and
Levi, eager to be taken for a "homey," complete
with baggy pants, hoodies and the ever-present
iPod. This family has no secrets--at least not for
long.  They talk about everything, appropriate to
the occasion or not.  And, there is plenty to talk
about.    The other half of the story is that of
the Kipps family: Monty, stiff, wealthy
ultra-conservative vocal Christian and Rembrandt
scholar, whose book has been published.  His wife
Carlene is always slightly out of focus, and
that's the way she wants it.  She wafts over all
proceedings, never really connecting with anyone. 
That seems to be endemic in the Kipps household. 
Son Michael is a bit of a Monty clone and daughter
Victoria is not at all what Daddy thinks she is. 
Indeed, Forster's advice, "Only connect," is lost
on this group.    The two academics have long been
rivals, detesting each other's politics and
disagreeing about Rembrandt.  They are thrown into
further conflict when Jerome leaves Wellington to
get away from the discovery of his father's
affair, lands on the Kipps' doorstep, falls for
Victoria and mistakes what he has going with her
for love.  Howard makes it worse by trying to fix
it.  Then, Kipps is granted a visiting
professorship at Wellington and the whole family
arrives in Massachusetts.  From this raw material,
Smith has fashioned a superb book, her best to
date.  She has interwoven class, race, and gender
and taken everyone prisoner.  Her even-handed
renditions of liberal and/or conservative
mouthings are insightful, often hilarious, and
damning to all.  She has a great time exposing
everyone's clay feet.  This author is a young
woman cynical beyond her years, and we are all
richer for it.  --Valerie Ryan

 Visit Shop  >
amazon marketplace books
Postage & Packaging:  Check Site.
Availability:  Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days...

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

In an author's note at the end of On Beauty, Zadie Smith writes: "My largest structural ... more

debt should be obvious to any E.M. Forster fan;
suffice it to say he gave me a classy old frame,
which I covered with new material as best I
could."  If it is true that imitation is the
sincerest form of flattery, Forster, perched on a
cloud somewhere, should be all puffed up with
pride. His disciple has taken Howards End, that
marvelous tale of class difference, and upped the
ante by adding race, politics, and gender.  The
end result is a story for the 21st century, told
with a perfect ear for everything: gangsta street
talk; academic posturing, both British and
American; down-home black Floridian straight talk;
and sassy, profane kids, both black and white.   
Howard Belsey is a middle-class white liberal
Englishman teaching abroad at Wellington, a thinly
disguised version of one of the Ivies.  He is a
Rembrandt scholar who can't finish his book and a
recent adulterer whose marriage is now on the
slippery slope to disaster.  His wife, Kiki, a
black Floridian, is a warm, generous, competent
wife, mother, and medical worker.  Their children
are Jerome, disgusted by his father's behavior,
Zora, Wellington sophomore firebrand feminist and
Levi, eager to be taken for a "homey," complete
with baggy pants, hoodies and the ever-present
iPod. This family has no secrets--at least not for
long.  They talk about everything, appropriate to
the occasion or not.  And, there is plenty to talk
about.    The other half of the story is that of
the Kipps family: Monty, stiff, wealthy
ultra-conservative vocal Christian and Rembrandt
scholar, whose book has been published.  His wife
Carlene is always slightly out of focus, and
that's the way she wants it.  She wafts over all
proceedings, never really connecting with anyone. 
That seems to be endemic in the Kipps household. 
Son Michael is a bit of a Monty clone and daughter
Victoria is not at all what Daddy thinks she is. 
Indeed, Forster's advice, "Only connect," is lost
on this group.    The two academics have long been
rivals, detesting each other's politics and
disagreeing about Rembrandt.  They are thrown into
further conflict when Jerome leaves Wellington to
get away from the discovery of his father's
affair, lands on the Kipps' doorstep, falls for
Victoria and mistakes what he has going with her
for love.  Howard makes it worse by trying to fix
it.  Then, Kipps is granted a visiting
professorship at Wellington and the whole family
arrives in Massachusetts.    From this raw
material, Smith has fashioned a superb book, her
best to date.  She has interwoven class, race, and
gender and taken everyone prisoner.  Her
even-handed renditions of liberal and/or
conservative mouthings are insightful, often
hilarious, and damning to all.  She has a great
time exposing everyone's clay feet.  This author
is a young woman cynical beyond her years, and we
are all richer for it.  --Valerie Ryan

 Visit Shop  >
amazon marketplace books
Postage & Packaging:  £2.80
Availability:  Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days...

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

In an author's note at the end of On Beauty, Zadie Smith writes: "My largest structural ... more

debt should be obvious to any E.M. Forster fan;
suffice it to say he gave me a classy old frame,
which I covered with new material as best I
could."  If it is true that imitation is the
sincerest form of flattery, Forster, perched on a
cloud somewhere, should be all puffed up with
pride. His disciple has taken Howards End, that
marvelous tale of class difference, and upped the
ante by adding race, politics, and gender.  The
end result is a story for the 21st century, told
with a perfect ear for everything: gangsta street
talk; academic posturing, both British and
American; down-home black Floridian straight talk;
and sassy, profane kids, both black and white.   
Howard Belsey is a middle-class white liberal
Englishman teaching abroad at Wellington, a thinly
disguised version of one of the Ivies.  He is a
Rembrandt scholar who can't finish his book and a
recent adulterer whose marriage is now on the
slippery slope to disaster.  His wife, Kiki, a
black Floridian, is a warm, generous, competent
wife, mother, and medical worker.  Their children
are Jerome, disgusted by his father's behavior,
Zora, Wellington sophomore firebrand feminist and
Levi, eager to be taken for a "homey," complete
with baggy pants, hoodies and the ever-present
iPod. This family has no secrets--at least not for
long.  They talk about everything, appropriate to
the occasion or not.  And, there is plenty to talk
about.    The other half of the story is that of
the Kipps family: Monty, stiff, wealthy
ultra-conservative vocal Christian and Rembrandt
scholar, whose book has been published.  His wife
Carlene is always slightly out of focus, and
that's the way she wants it.  She wafts over all
proceedings, never really connecting with anyone. 
That seems to be endemic in the Kipps household. 
Son Michael is a bit of a Monty clone and daughter
Victoria is not at all what Daddy thinks she is. 
Indeed, Forster's advice, "Only connect," is lost
on this group.    The two academics have long been
rivals, detesting each other's politics and
disagreeing about Rembrandt.  They are thrown into
further conflict when Jerome leaves Wellington to
get away from the discovery of his father's
affair, lands on the Kipps' doorstep, falls for
Victoria and mistakes what he has going with her
for love.  Howard makes it worse by trying to fix
it.  Then, Kipps is granted a visiting
professorship at Wellington and the whole family
arrives in Massachusetts.    From this raw
material, Smith has fashioned a superb book, her
best to date.  She has interwoven class, race, and
gender and taken everyone prisoner.  Her
even-handed renditions of liberal and/or
conservative mouthings are insightful, often
hilarious, and damning to all.  She has a great
time exposing everyone's clay feet.  This author
is a young woman cynical beyond her years, and we
are all richer for it.  --Valerie Ryan

 Visit Shop  >
amazon marketplace books
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Availability:  Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days...

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Product Information for "On Beauty - Zadie Smith" »

Manufacturer's product description

We all worry about what others think of us. We all long to succeed and fear failure. We all suffer to a greater or lesser degree, usually privately and with embarrassment from status anxiety. For the first time, Alain de Botton gives a name to this universal condition and sets out to investigate both its origins and possible solutions. He looks at history, philosophy, economics, art and politics and reveals the many ingenious ways that great minds have overcome their worries. The result is a book that is not only entertaining and thought-provoking but genuinely wise and helpful as well.

Product details

Type Audio CD
Title On Beauty
Author Zadie Smith
Publisher Penguin Audiobooks
ISBN 014101945X; 0141026669; 0141888318; 0143037749; 0241142938; 0241142946; 1594200637; 1594200734

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Listed on Ciao since 08/08/2007

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