The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty: A Novel

The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty: A Novel

by Amanda Filipacchi


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"A sure comic touch . . . smart and sweet . . . a tribute to the pleasures of friendship." —The New YorkerIn the heart of New York City, a group of artistic friends struggles with society's standards of beauty. At the center are Barb and Lily, two women at opposite ends of the beauty spectrum, but with the same problem: each fears she will never find a love that can overcome her looks. Barb, a stunningly beautiful costume designer, makes herself ugly in hopes of finding true love. Meanwhile, her friend Lily, a brilliantly talented but plain-looking musician, goes to fantastic lengths to attract the man who has rejected her—with results that are as touching as they are transformative.To complicate matters, Barb and Lily discover that they may have a murderer in their midst, that Barb’s calm disposition is more dangerously provocative than her beauty ever was, and that Lily's musical talents are more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Part literary whodunit, part surrealist farce, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty is a smart, modern-day fairy tale. With biting wit and offbeat charm, Amanda Filipacchi illuminates the labyrinthine relationship between beauty, desire, and identity, asking at every turn: what does it truly mean to allow oneself to be seen?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393352306
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/22/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 420,347
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Amanda Filipacchi is the author of three previous novels, Nude Men, Vapor, and, most recently, Love Creeps. Her writing has appeared in Best American Humor and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.

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The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty: A Novel 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought-provoking read that's both funny and touching! "Unique" is an adjective flogged to death by dishonest copywriters, yet it accurately describes Amanda Filipacchi's fascinating and hilarious new novel. "The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty" made me laugh out loud many times, but it's also poignant, exploring painful truths about living in a superficial society, where looks often trump good character, accomplishments, kindness, and the ability to be a true friend. Although the plot is absurdist and touched with surreal happenings (including the most outrageous and funny dinner party scene I've ever read), the characters are grounded by emotions that will resonate with anyone who's been in love. The pages flew by and I just wanted to keep reading. In fact, I think I'll read it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend!! I love this book. It's so clever and funny, I was completely absorbed. One of my all-time favorites. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not wade through it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deliciously entertaining, funny, skillfully written, and deeply moving. To say anything about the characters would spoil the story, because their eccentric behavior is constantly surprising and as powerful as good plotting. I have started and abandoned so many books, bored by an author straining or showing off or in some way self-consciously creating “quirkiness.” I am never bored by Amanda Filipacchi’s unique characters because their idiosyncrasies sprout from a truthful foundation of human confusion, pain, and struggle. The story involves a group of friends and their distress about appearance vs. reality, obsessive desire mislabeled as unrequited love, masks and murder. Also it unreels one of the most screamingly funny dinner party scenes I’ve ever read. People might categorize aspects of the book as social satire, magical realism, or a twisted contemporary adult fairytale, but these labels don’t describe what is here. “You took the few pieces of [a person] that were visible to you and you put them together into this little grotesque being that you assume is [the person you see] . . .” This little snippet, necessarily without context in order to preserve the mystery of this wonderful plot, describes what we do, how we confuse the tiny bits that we manage to see for a whole truth. With such a light and delighted hand that you might miss it, Amanda Filipacchi presents all the fractured pieces of our broken humanity. Her book is her literary gift to readers who understand what it is to be blind and shattered and who appreciate good writing, human complexity, and wild humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Filipacchi scrutinizes people's choices and behaviors in a manner that makes me admire her insight and also makes me laugh out loud. The doorman who says what he really thinks instead of maintaining the Manhattan facade is just one small instance of Filipacchi's ability to create characters who fascinate for both what they say and what they represent. As in her previous books, she deals with obsession, love, and the various ways people contort themselves to escape pain, achieve redemption, or just get through life. The plot is addictive and fun, with notes, secrets, acronyms, and so on. Read it; you'll be glad you did.
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lellis48 More than 1 year ago
This is the worst book I have ever read. The characters and plot are ridiculous. I am deleting it from my library because I don't want anyone to know that I would waste money on a book such as this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't like anything about this book. It was just awful.