Zadie Smith. On Beauty

József Rippl-Rónai, “Kitchen Detail”

My first Zadie Smith, and fantastic. Smith nails her Forster. It is SO right. She totally understands that “only connect” doesn’t actually work as a motto or guiding principle for life. Life requires so much more than that, and Smith shows you the hows and whys, with such humor and pathos and BEAUTY. If you love Forster, this is a magnificent tribute. If you don’t love Forster, you will. Because it’s so fantastic, I’ll go ahead and say that I think her view of U.S. university employment is a bit off. And, she really skewers some of her characters in a way that makes me slightly uncomfortable, a Mavis Gallant kind of uncomfortable. But it’s such a wonderful book that you feel kind of grateful that there are errors, and places where she might lean a little too hard, because otherwise you might just go insane with pleasure.
Read: March 2014

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