Reading: On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Prompted by a conversation with Chips last week, I started reading this over the weekend. You can now add me to the Zadie Smithconverts: this book is a December surprise that's been sitting on my bookshelf since October. It's marvelous. How nice to not be disappointed after all the hype for once (it's been a disappointing year for me, book-wise and hype-wise). The comedy doesn't scream COMEDY (I prefer it when the humor flows from the line, you know?), and the drama is human, not melodramatic. Of course, I'm far less interested in plot details than the average Joe, and such a sucker for pretty writing, so what do I know. But I'm finding the writing careful, clever, and well tended; thus far (p. 157), pitch perfect. Even the trivial details:

Up there behind glass the ideal people were exercising; down here the misshapen people were floating around, hoping. Twice a week this dynamic changed when the swim team graced the pool with their magnificence, relegating Zora and everyone else to the practice pool to share lanes with infants and senior citizens. Swim-team people launched themselves from the edge, remade their bodies in the image of darts, and then entered the pool like something the water had been waiting for and gratefully accepted. People like Zora sat carefully down on the gritty tiles, gave the water only their feet and then had a debate with their bodies about committing to the next stage. It was not at all unusual for Zora to get undressed, walk the pool, look at the athletes, sit down, put her toes in, get back up, walk the pool, look at the athletes, get dressed and leave the building.
On Beauty
By Zadie Smith