2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
On Beauty by Zadie Smith,
This review is from: On Beauty (Paperback)Amazon and literary critics have complained that On Beauty did not live up to Smith's first novel, White Teeth. I am glad, therefore, that I have not yet read White Teeth and do not feel compelled to make a comparison. On Beauty was an absolutely fanastic read. It covered well worn topics i.e. inter-racial relationships, black identity etc, but it didn't over-explore them. Instead Smith used her knowledge and understanding of these subjects to show that people who have to deal with them also have to deal with the everyday emotional issues of life such as loss of love, growing up, temptation etc.
It seems that Zadie Smith has a deep understanding of art and is able to share this with her readers. Whilst I appreciate art I would not describe myself as an art lover. However, I have found myself looking up Rembrandt on the internet and in the local library. One has to see the picture of Hendrickje bathing to understand it's significance to the end of the novel.
Smith's uses language skillfully and by doing so put's the reader into the mind and psyche of each character.
My only contention with Smith is her characterisation of Kiki. It seemed to me that she was made to fit negative stereo-types of black women. Characterising her as a overweight black women seemed to cast her in a kind of Big Mama type role - always there to deal with everyone's nonsense and so lacking in self-esteem she was unable to free herself from her adulterous, needy husband.
Howver, no-one's perfect but I think On Beauty is the nearest to a perfect novel I've read in a long time.On Beauty