In this loose retelling of Howard’s End, Zadie Smith considers the big questions:
Why do we fall in love with the people we do? Why do we visit our mistakes on our children? What makes life truly beautiful?
Set in New England mainly and London partly, On Beauty concerns a pair of feuding families—the Belseys and the Kippses—and a clutch of doomed affairs. It puts low morals among high ideals and asks some searching questions about what life does to love. For the Belseys and the Kippses, the confusions—both personal and political—of our uncertain age are about to be brought close to home: right to the heart of family.