Race, religion, culture, nationality... the perennial reasons of world conflicts. We are the same and still so different. How far does our tolerance extend? Is it closer to a passionate liberal or to an ardent conservatist? Isn't the world of intellectuals a bit artificial and empty? These are some of the issues that Zadie Smith deals with in her most recent book "On Beauty," and she does so in an extraordinarily vivid and lively way. Starting with the very first sentence, she manages to pull the reader in the fascinating world of people of different skin colour and different approach to life, who despite the differences between them (or perhaps thanks to them) live together and learn from one another. This life is not an easy one and the differences often result in conflicts and misunderstandings. As it turns out, even the most open-minded and educated people are not free from prejudice. Somewhere at the back of our minds lies the need to identify with those with the same skin colour, beliefs, problems, religion... It is like a magnet, which both attracts and repells. Zadie Smith shows all of this having two multicultural families, the Kipps and the Belsezs as examples. Their lives interweave and infuence the individual lives of each of the families' members. This causes more or less tragic consequence, uncovers the deeply hidden or still unexplored, overturns stereotypes and shows the way in which the choices which we make influence our future lives...The novel shows that it is always worth getting to know a person better before we make any evaluation, as in reality nothing is as it seems. It's best to have both our hearts and minds open.