Zadie Smith is another author I have been wanting to read for many years and finally had a chance to pick up On Beauty, her Orange Prize winning, Booker Prize short listed novel. Smith did not disappoint.
The plot follows the travails of the Beasly family as it enters a period of flux and strain, with the three children entering adulthood and challenging the authority of their parents and the marriage facing peril as the husband, Howard, has strayed and had an affair with a long time friend.
Smith does so much here. Her writing is witty and engrossing, she switches narrative perspectives with ease and sometimes mid paragraph, but without being jarring. She also tackles so many thematics here, from the precarious identity of a mixed race family, to the difficult challenges of holding a family together as monumental transitional moments conspire to undermine even the strongest relationships.
I am eager to pick up White Teeth and other writings, but happy to have chosen this one as my first foray into the world of Zadie Smith.