Elizabeth Shepherd recommends


The Next Chapter regularly asks Canadian musicians what books are on their bedside. Elizabeth Shepherd stopped by to rave about On Beauty by Zadie Smith. Elizabeth Shepherd is a world-renowned jazz musician whose debut album, Start to Move (2006), and sophomore follow-up, Parkdale (2008), were both nominated for Juno Awards.

Here's what Elizabeth had to say about her favourite bedside book:

"I've just finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith. On Beauty was one of the most moving and beautiful books I've read in a while, actually. In a nutshell, it's about love but the very complex kind of love that you don't often hear about, that's glossed over by romance. It's a married couple who's been married probably about 20 years. The husband is going through a midlife crisis and ends up cheating on her. It's about her own coming out of her shell as she's dealing with these questions of where her life has taken her. It's about finding identity and older age. I got so into it I wanted to see what Zadie Smith had to say about writing it and I felt like I was really attuned to what she was putting into these characters, namely the protagonist, and she said in an interview 'she was the kind of woman that I'd like to be.' I was thinking that along through the book that this was the kind of woman that I also would like to be. It was a wonderful, wonderful read."


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On BeautyOn Beauty
by Zadie Smith

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From the publisher: 

"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."

Read more at Penguin Canada.