On Beauty

By Zadie Smith
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143037743, 445pp.)

Publication Date: September 2006

List Price: $17.00*
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Winner of the 2006 Orange Prize for fiction and from the celebrated author of "White Teeth" comes another bestselling masterwork
Having hit bestseller lists from the "New York Times" to the "San Francisco Chronicle," this wise, hilarious novel reminds us why Zadie Smith has rocketed to literary stardom. "On Beauty" is the story of an interracial family living in the university town of Wellington, Massachusetts, whose misadventures in the culture wars-on both sides of the Atlantic-serve to skewer everything from family life to political correctness to the combustive collision between the personal and the political. Full of dead-on wit and relentlessly funny, this tour de force confirms Zadie Smith's reputation as a major literary talent.
Named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the "New York Times Book Review, Entertainment Weekly, Time," and "Publishers Weekly" A "New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Denver Post," and "Publishers Weekly" bestseller A "Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlantic Monthly, Newsday, Christian Science Monitor," and "Minneapolis Star Tribune" Best Book of the Year Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize BACKCOVER: Praise for "On Beauty"
"A thoroughly original tale . . . wonderfully engaging, wonderfully observed . . . That rare thing: a novel that is as affecting as it is entertaining, as provocative as it is humane."
-Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
"A thing of beauty. Oh happy day when a writer as gifted as Zadie Smith fulfills her early promise with a novel as accomplished, substantive and penetrating as "On Beauty.""
-"Los Angeles Times"
"Smith's specialty is her ability to render the new world, in its vibrant multiculturalism, with a kind of dancing, daring joy. . . . Her plots and people sing with life. . . . One of the best of the year, a splendid treat. "
-"Chicago Tribune"
"Short-listed for the 2005] Man Booker Prize, On Beauty is a rollicking satire . . . a tremendously good read."
-"San Francisco Chronicle.

About the Author
Zadie Smith is the critically acclaimed author of various bestselling novels, including "White Teeth" and "The Autograph Man". She was born in Northwest London in 1975 and still lives in the area.

Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com


  1. At the start of the novel, Howard's betrayal of Kiki has already set the family reeling off its orbit. What are the effects of his infidelity on the children? How do they react and whom do they side with? He and Kiki interpret the meaning of his act differently? Can you understand both sides? Why do you think Howard is tempted toward sexual betrayal? Where do you imagine their relationship is heading at the end?

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