Between the reading I do at the office and the reading I do at home for freelance work, the only time I have to read for pleasure is on the train (which, to be fair, allows me up to an hour a day).  So today, I finished Zadie Smith’s latest novel, On Beauty. I was a little apprehensive starting this; I loved her debut novel, White Teeth (published when she was only 25) and, like most other people, was a little disappointed by her second novel, The Autograph Man. I was very relieved to see that her latest book is a return to her earlier promise; it’s a rich, funny, and intellectually absorbing story of two multiracial and multicultural families duking it out on the playground of elite academia (the fictional Wellington College, in its eponymous suburb of Boston). Her characters are wonderfully developed; I’ve always been amazed at how such a young woman can be so well attuned to the inner worlds of insecure, slightly disillusioned middle-aged men. I was a little sad when the book ended, a good sign, since it showed I had become wrapped up in the lives of characters who had become real to me. Anyone who’s looking for a new book should give this one a try.

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