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Easy Beauty

On sale

7th April 2022

Price: £16.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349013824

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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.


Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State
This book is utterly remarkable. I was spellbound by the style, the ideas, the vulnerability, the talent.
Anna Wiener, author of Uncanny Valley
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.
Easy Beauty is an exquisite exploration of disability, identity, and the human capacity to do (and be) more than we've ever dreamed
O Magazine
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.
People Magazine
The multiple depths that 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. 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.
Tomi Obaro, Buzzfeed News
Moving, incisive... Jones resists sentimentality and is as unsparing of herself as she is of other people, and yet she writes with such graciousness. A wonderful debut
Charlotte Heathcote, Daily Record
Touching and often humorous... explores life from the perspective of those who don't conform to conventional beauty standards
NB Magazine
Candid and truth-seeking, this memoir charts the act of refocusing and realigning the ways we view and interpret ourselves
André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name
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.
Mitski, singer-songwriter
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.
Best Memoirs of 2022, Vulture
Genius... Shifted my understanding of a world I've only experienced while able-bodied
Books of the Year, New York Times
Gorgeous, vividly alive... In rejecting the dismissive gaze of others, Jones stands in the light of her own extremely able self
Washington Post
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.
Melanie Reid, The Times
Graceful, soul-baring
Jarred McGinnis, author of The Coward
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.
Booklist, starred review
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.
Starred Publishers Weekly
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
Lit Hub
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.
Bustle 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.
Publishers Weekly, Best Books of 2022
Achingly felt, Jones's writing is a revelation
Lulu Fisher, author of Why Fish Don't Exist and host of Radiolab
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.
Coachella Review
Gorgeous, concise and often very funny... a gripping memoir about parenting, disabilities and figuring out what to do next... a philosophical masterpiece, written in the tradition of those who see philosophy not as a dry academic subject but as a way of life
Sarah Ruhl, author of Smile
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.
Kristen Radtke, author of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness
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.
Irish Times
A masterpiece ... Cooper Jones uses the particulars of her own experience to formulate ideas that are at once universally applicable and genuinely profound
Whiting Foundation Judges citation
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.