Book 17: On Beauty (Zadie Smith)

I gave Zadie Smith another try after a recommendation from a friend but I’m afraid I still find her style of writing a little too hard to follow. She tackles big themes but stuffs them in an overly complicated plot that just doesn’t work for me. I think I need things spelling out a little more. Half the time I feel like I’ve almost got something that she’s trying to imply but that I haven’t quite. And that bugs me. For example, there’s a scene where two of the characters are arguing and interspersed with that (out of nowhere) Smith decides to describe a picture on the wall. I realise the picture has symbolism but, to me, it just detracts from the point and the specifics of the argument. The whole book somehow feels stereotypical even though I know it’s deliberately not. The last few chapters did bring everything together and I was feeling hopeful for the very end but then, sadly, I totally lost it in the last paragraph.

I can understand how it works for others though.

Best thing about this book was discovering this version of Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley).

5/10 – not terrible, not amazing.


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