Customer Review

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 4 Sept. 2006
This review is from: On Beauty (Paperback)
This is the first Zadie Smith I've read and it will almost certainly be the last. The whole thing felt so half-hearted; the hip hop references were limited almost exclusively to Tupac, which shows how much 'research' Zadie Smith actually did for the book. It's very upsetting to see critics like Frank Kermoda earnestly falling for this as authentic writing engaged with hip hop. The characters - in particular the walking cliche 'street poet' Carl, and Howard Belsey who is little more than a convenient whipping-boy standing for 'theoretically-minded academics' - are caricatures, not, as Smith clearly intended, fully-rounded human beings. There is no progression of characters or ideas in the book and the prose is relentlessly gimmicky - witness the self-satisfied repetition of 'Googling' and the only occasional idiomatic spelling - the 'Pah point' joke is particularly lame, how many other characters are ridiculed in that way? The descriptions of academic life do not ring true to me at all either, it feels like the professors never do any teaching and spend most of their time at home furrowing their brows about their infidelities. The triumph of this book is meant to be that of beauty in art over theoretical analysis and deconstruction, but the book is so relentlessly tedious that I'd rather read Derrida and that's saying a lot. The idea of this being one of the 6 best books of 2005 is a joke; this is a middlebrow novel masquerading as high art.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.1 out of 5 stars (132 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (26)
4 star:
 (38)
3 star:
 (20)
2 star:
 (22)
1 star:
 (26)
 
 
 
£8.99
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 774,467