D J Taylor

Faculty Blues

On Beauty

By

Hamish Hamilton 446pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Since her last appearance before the critics, with 2002’s The Autograph Man, Zadie Smith has, in no particular order, been to America, hung out with the McSweeney’s crowd, introduced a terrible collection of contemporary Americana (Zadie Smith Introduces ‘The Burned Children of America’), got married, and had rather a lot to say on the subject of Vladimir Nabokov. Much of this may be inferred from her new novel, which is, among other topics, about marriage, the black American experience, family life and the nature of art, and has perhaps the worst title that anyone ever devised for a book since Norman Mailer’s Of Women and Their Elegance.

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