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ebook / ISBN-13: 9780349013794

Price: £16.99

ON SALE: 7th April 2022

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

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‘GORGEOUS, VIVIDLY ALIVE’ NEW YORK TIMES

BOLD, HONEST AND SUPERBLY WELL-WRITTEN’ ANDRÉ ACIMAN, AUTHOR OF CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

GRACEFUL AND SOUL-BARING’ MELANIE REID, THE TIMES

‘WHAT A GIFT . . . HAS THE RIGOR AND PRECISION OF JOAN DIDION AND MAGGIE NELSON AND A FORTHRIGHT HUMOR AND NAKED TRUTH ALL OF ITS OWN.’ SARAH RUHL, AUTHOR OF SMILE

I am in a bar in Brooklyn listening to two men, my friends, discuss whether or not my life was worth living.

So begins Chloé Cooper Jones’s bold account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis, she must contend not only with her own physical pain, but the emotional discomfort of others.

It is only when she unexpectedly becomes a mother that she confronts the demand to live life fully, propelling her on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied, and denied herself.

From Roman sculptures to a Beyoncé concert, from a tennis tournament to the Cambodian Killing Fields, Jones interrogates the myths of beauty with spiky intelligence, aesthetic philosophy, love and humor, inviting us to find a new way of seeing.

What's Inside

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Reviews

The multiple depths that Cooper Jones plumbs in Easy Beauty results in a memoir that can't easily be classified. The same can be said for the book's author. Cooper Jones is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a philosophy professor and a writer, who delves into her journey as a daughter, mother, wife and her search for a new way of seeing the world. In other words, her story is about the complexity of the human experience and the questions of identity and belonging that plague us all.
People Magazine
Inspired in part by the shift Jones saw in others' perceptions of her during her pregnancy, Easy Beauty challenges deep-seated assumptions about who gets to be capable, trustworthy, and desirable.
Bustle Magazine
Cooper Jones challenges the unspoken social taboos about the disabled body, unpacking myths of beauty and our complicity in upholding those myths. Blending journalism, philosophy, and memoir, it's a book that everyone will be talking about.
Lit Hub
What a gift of a book ... Easy Beauty has the rigor and precision of Joan Didion and Maggie Nelson and a forthright humor and naked truth all its own.
Sarah Ruhl, author of Smile
Dazzling . . . Chloe Cooper Jones challenges society's rules of attraction with razor-sharp wit and intellect . . .[and) makes a brilliant case for the beauty of complexity
Starred Publishers Weekly
Graceful, soul-baring
Melanie Reid, The Times
In this ambitious and elegant book about seeing and being seen, Chloé Cooper Jones invokes thorny, theoretical material about identity, the social order, and how we measure human value, but her clarity and compassion invite all readers in. She has created a forceful and fresh point of view from which to anatomize power, access, and perception in her precise, unsparing prose. A necessary, relentlessly honest book that feels both of the moment and timeless.
Whiting Foundation Judges citation
Despite doctors' dire predictions that she wouldn't live, walk or have children, she has done these things and more. Here, she probes the ways a culture determines a person's value and embarks on a journey to understand the myth of beauty and her own unintentional complicity in it.
Washington Post
A memoir full of insight as the author tries to wrestle understanding and ownership of herself from a world still eager to assert its sovereignty over the female body.
Jarred McGinnis, author of The Coward
Exquisite. Here Pulitzer finalist Jones reflects on our standards of beauty from the perspective of a disabled woman whose rare congenital condition affects her stature and gait, and leaves her in constant pain. But it's ultimately motherhood that liberates her, and prompts her to re-examine the limitations she has accepted as givens.
O Magazine
Jones is a magnificent guide, fiercely sharp and fiercely human. This book is for anyone who wants to immerse into a world of beauty, who wants to get real about the roots of their desire, and who can't quite kick the habit of admiring the structures-and humans-who harm them. The questions she raises will resound in your head for a long time to come.
Lulu Fisher, author of Why Fish Don't Exist and host of Radiolab
I recommend Easy Beauty to anyone who has wanted beauty badly, even without knowing quite what it is, but who could never seem to access it. At least, I'm that sort of anyone, and I could feel and recognize parts of myself in every moment of this book. Chloé Cooper Jones' writing pierces right through and lets a light in.
Mitski, singer-songwriter
This book is utterly remarkable. I was spellbound by the style, the ideas, the vulnerability, the talent.
Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State
A soul-stretching, breathtaking existential memoir chronicles her reclaiming of body, mind, and self . . . Superlative writing, rendering complex emotion and unparalleled insight in skilfully precise language. Her debut is a game-changing gift to readers.
Booklist, starred review
Perceptive, stylish, and darkly funny, Easy Beauty is an act of grace, and a reckoning. Chloé Cooper Jones is a remarkable writer - I would follow her mind anywhere.
Anna Wiener, author of Uncanny Valley
Easy Beauty is bold, honest, and superbly well-written. Chloé Cooper Jones is ruthless in probing our weakest and darkest areas, and does so with grace, humor, and ultimately, with something one seldom finds: kindness and humanity.
André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name
Chloé Cooper Jones is a writer whose work I don't read, but enter: she weaves her brainy, crackling interior into the sinews of a reality that is forever reminding its participants of the difficulty of living inside a body. Easy Beauty is the most humane book I have read in a long time: in her insistence that we bear witness to each other, Jones calls forth a better, and indeed more beautiful world. I loved this book.
Kristen Radtke, author of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness