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Zadie Smith's On Beauty

Zadie Smith weaves a tale about ambition, love and betrayal.

books Updated: May 21, 2012 15:02 IST

(This extract has been taken from Zadie Smith's latest title, On Beauty, which is also on the Booker shortlist.)

Abruptly he stopped speaking and remained silent for a minute. He could hear people moving in their seats. He could smell the tang of himself strongly. What did he look like to these people? He pressed the red button.

The lights began to go down, very slowly, on a dimmer, as if Howard was trying to romance his audience. He looked out across the crowd to find the man responsible for this effect and found instead Kiki, sixth row, far right, looking up with interest at the image behind him, which was beginning to refine itself in the coming darkness. She wore a scarlet threaded across her plait, and her shoulders were bare and gleaming.

First Published: Sep 21, 2005 19:23 IST