First Impression Friday is hosted by J.W. Martin.
First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
I have come across First Impression Friday through Krsitin Kraves Books. It piqued my interest so I decided to do my own. What better way to start than with a colossal literary masterpiece. Let us start! P.S. Do check out Kristin Kraves Books as it has many interesting book and reading-related pieces.
“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 the family.”
One of the authors that I have always been curious of is Zadie Smith. Back when I was doing reading list challenges, I came across her name countless of times yet I barely had an iota on who she is and what her works are. Every time I come across her name or her works, the more curious I become. The number of times I encountered her works is too auspicious for me not to try and dig into her narrative.
I guess my prayers were heard as I was able to purchase a copy of one of her works, On Beauty. My conquest for the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die made me include this Orange Prize for Fiction winning work in my 2019 Top 20 Reading List. It took me sometime to gain some precious reading momentum but gladly, I am on one right now. Or I guess my anxiety in completing my 2019 reading list was simply taking over me.
I am halfway through the book and what can I say? I guess I’ll have to say that the reading experience is leaning on the deflated side. There are brilliant points to the story, like how it deals with domestic concerns. The story as well is reminding me of Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous because of their take on beauty, both physical and natural. On Beauty, however, is not as dynamic as the newly published work.
Don’t get me wrong, the premise is actually interesting although it does sound a bit trite. The domesticated atmosphere renders it a more authentic flair. The setting and the context also piqued my interest. However, I find the writing and the approach a little too safe. I find the characters a little artificial, a little underdeveloped. At times, I find myself lost in the conversations as some of the interactions were shallow. I sure hope their characters develop as I glide through the narrative.
The positive thing is that there is that there is still more of the story to unravel, enough time for it redeem itself. Moreover, the plot is starting to thicken; the fusion of poetry and literature had made it more interesting. I am beginning to form an idea on how the story is going to shape up but I don’t want to preempt it because I might end up disappointed. Right now, I want to remain realistic, grounded at least. I just hope that it’ll do enough to sustain my interest.