White Teeth

A Novel

Smith, Zadie

Book - 2001
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
White Teeth
Random House, Inc.
Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own.

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.
The questions and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's discussion of Zadie Smith's White Teeth , a funny, generous, big-hearted novel dealing--among many other things--with friendship, love, war, three cultures, three families over three generations, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle. It is a life-affirming, riotous, must-read of a book.

Baker & Taylor
Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families--the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire--as they make their way in modern England.

& Taylor

Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families--the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire--as they make their way in modern England. A first novel. Reprint. 200,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 2001, c2000
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 0375703861
Branch Call Number: FIC S
Characteristics: 448 p. ; 21 cm.


From the critics

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Dec 16, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An extraordinary multicultural romp through the lives of three families living in London, England during the postwar years. Their intermingling is charged with humour, frustration, love, anger -- the complete panoply of human emotions. Smith, who has a Jamaican mother and an English father, lives in the very district of which she writes. May she continue to write with all the vibrant energy that she has brought to her debut.

Jun 21, 2014
  • labrys rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

While Zadie Smite writes well and her world is full of vibrant details, the chapters are short and the POV shifts quickly between characters lending the novel a fragmented feel. I find her essays much more compelling.

May 31, 2014
  • bookwormjeph rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this initially- for the first 150 pages or so and then became a little bored with it and it felt like it was overly long and focused on the trivial. It was funny, quirky and highlighted real life cultural issues in a sharp edged parody - but ultimately not enough to sustain my interest.

Jan 25, 2014
  • shizuku_san rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I was surprised at how much the author could trace political and social changes through bread! It was pretty interesting, although I felt like the connection between his research and his conclusion wasn't as clear as it could have been.

Jul 12, 2012
  • smilegirl24 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book pulled me in early and didn't release me until the very last page. An incredibly detailed, funny, and thoughtful analysis of the position of immigrants in England, White Teeth manages to approach a difficult subject with humor and without offensiveness. Highly reccomended.

Feb 03, 2012
  • carmenweiss rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I read this pretty quickly, but don't remember enjoying it all that much.

Oct 01, 2009
  • lilybelle rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A perfect novel on imperfect characters living in an imperfect world.


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