Frank Kermode writes:
On Beauty is a much less tumultuous novel than White Teeth, and a more sober book than The Autograph Man. There is a complicated story making up by richness of implication what it lacks in exuberance. The mufflered pink-cheeked charm of a New England campus in winter is very agreeably rendered. The row between Professor Belsey and Kiki when she finds out he’s been cheating is as deft as anybody could make it, he with his stumbling, evasive academic dialect and she with her ‘personal’ language and naturally inflexible notions of fidelity and honour.
(LRB 6 October 2005)