Zadie Smith On Beauty by Zadie Smith

The novel is a complex exploration of family dynamics, personal identity, and political ideology set against the backdrop of academic rivalry in a fictional New England college town. It follows the story of the Belsey family, particularly the father, a white English professor struggling with his career, and his African-American wife, who is questioning her own artistic ambitions. Their three children grapple with their biracial heritage and their own burgeoning personal lives. The narrative delves into themes of beauty, art, and cultural clash, as the Belsey family's liberal sensibilities are challenged by their conservative counterparts, the Kipps family, leading to a series of personal and ideological conflicts that force each character to confront their own prejudices and desires.