On Beauty On Beauty discussion


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I can't yet decide

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Sean Whether I think the end is a purposefully indeterminate end meant to both reflect the realities of life, and leave the reader sifting through the topics and issues discussed. Or whether it was just kind of indeterminate and unfulfilling.


Katherine I think any ending that is not tidy and that leaves folks wondering is bound to be a little unfulfilling, unfortunately. I think the very last bit contains hints, though, as to how the marriage will end (I don't think it will) ... in fact I think the only serious indeterminacy the book leaves us with is Carl. Plus, I find Howard such an utterly unsympathetic character that I wonder if I really care if he wins Kiki back or not?


Leah I think Kiki has had it, and will never go back to him. Remember, Zoor and Jerome know about Howard and Vee now, so the word may get back to Kiki anytime, if she doesn't know about it already. And once she hears that or has heard that (left a bit unclear by Smith) her character shows she won't go back.


message 4: by Sohini (new)

Sohini Banerjee After reading ON BEAUTY these are the following conclusions I have come to:-
1) That all literary recognition & prizes are got up or else this book could not have been shortlisted for the Man Booker.
2) That an author may have written a single piece of good work at some point in his/her career but miracles don't happen everyday!
3) Publishers - Man take your job seriously!
4) Readers - Commendable job if you have managed to finish this one!

What a total waste of time the book is. Except an occasional bright part - Carlene & Kiki's friendship & the Belsey children having found a motto in their lives - nothing , absolutely nothing is even close to memorable in this book. The prose is painfully boring & the mixed language will also develop within you a mixed feeling - whether to read or not to read! The book would look good on the store's bookshelf - bring it home and you will have to keep it in the store room!


Willard Brickey I love Zadie Smith but I think ALL her novels have weak endings.


message 6: by Ruth (last edited Sep 07, 2012 10:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth I found the ending very entertaining, with Howard losing his notes and Kiki looking on at his embarrassment. Very funny, and I cringed for the poor guy. It does not tell us whether the couple get together again but comparing it to 'Howards End' Belsey's predicament seems a comic version of Henry's deflation when his son is convicted of manslaughter. It is Henry's end, and he never recovers his confidence, but nevertheless he gains from the experience. He gains a relationship with his wife; he gains a relationship with his sister in law; he gains loyalty to his dead wife and her dying wishes. I like to think Howard Belsey has a similar epiphany when he sees Kiki in the audience, whatever the outcome for the relationship.


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