I’d heard so much about this book, and seen it on a number of friends’ bookshelves, but had never got around to reading it myself. I’m not sure why I hadn’t picked it up before now – after all, it ticks all the boxes: attractive cover, shortlisted and winner of prestigious prizes, set in a favourite part of the world (New England), and a description that leads one to believe the story is filled with love, feuding families, personal emotions, political issues and high ideals. Almost sounds like a modern day Romeo & Juliet – in a language one can easily read and understand!
Finally On Beauty, by Zadie Smith, was top of the pile on my bedside table – it helped that all the other books underneath it I’d already read, so choices were slim. As I worked my way through the pages, reading about a son’s love of a girl he can’t have, a father and husband’s cheating ways, a provocative female student flirting with her professor, and a friendship between women that broke family boundaries, I can’t say I was all that captured. I persevered, I daydreamed, I put it down, picked it up, and continued to read yet another couple of pages – but for all its accolades “wonderfully funny” (Observer) – I never laughed out loud; “exceptional grace and wit” (Sunday Telegraph) – I was ever so slightly bored; “the year’s most enjoyable literary novel” (Daily Telegraph) –I’ve enjoyed reading OK magazine more!
Yet despite it all – I really want to read Zadie Smith’s other novel, White Teeth. Now how does that work I wonder?!