Howard Belsey is an Englishman abroad, an academic teaching in Wellington, a college town in New England. Married young, thirty years later he is struggling to revive his love for his African American wife Kiki. Meanwhile, his three teenage children - Jerome, Zora and Levi - are each seeking the passions, ideals and commitments that will guide them through their own lives.
After Howard has a disastrous affair with a colleague, his sensitive older son, Jerome, escapes to England for the holidays. In London he defies everything the Belseys represent when he goes to work for Trinidadian right-wing academic and pundit, Monty Kipps. Taken in by the Kipps family for the summer, Jerome falls for Monty's beautiful, capricious daughter, Victoria.
But this short-lived romance has long-lasting consequences, drawing these very different families into each other's lives. As Kiki develops a friendship with Mrs. Kipps, and Howard and Monty do battle on different sides of the culture war, hot-headed Zora brings a handsome young man from the Boston streets into their midst whom she is determined to draw into the fold of the black middle class - but at what price?
Zadie Smith updates the plot of E.M. Forster's HOWARDS END to tell the comic story of two radically different British families: the arch conservatives Monty and Carline Kipps, and the bohemian, very liberal Belseys. Both men are art professors teaching at a college in Massachusetts where the two wives, unexpectedly, become close friends. Kiki Belsey, a former activist settled into middle age, is trying to decide whether she can stay married to the supremely difficult Howard. Then, when the Belsey son and Kipps daughter fall in love, the families settle into a culture war that threatens all each one holds dear. Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2005 by the New York Times.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Conflicts + Dualities, Education, General, Human Qualities + Behavior, Literary, Society + Social Issues, Types of Characters, Love + Relationships + Sex
- September 13, 2005
- September 13, 2005
- Zadie Smith