By Zadie Smith
The reason I went back to Howards End was that last fall I read this book, and it is an homage to that novel. This is the story of Howard, an English transplant to a New England university; his African-American wife, Kiki; and their children. Howard is all intellect, and his wife is all instinct and passion. In a way, that's what both books are about—how limited the intellect is. As a teenager, I thought the famous passage in Howards End about "only connect" meant we have to connect with each other. But actually Forster writes about connecting prose to passion. The prose in life is our intellect.