White Teeth

White Teeth

by Zadie Smith
3.9 101

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Overview

White Teeth by Zadie Smith


On New Year's morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Cavalier Musketeer station wagon. Archie—working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt—is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie's car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel.

Epic and intimate, hilarious and poignant, White Teeth is the story of two North London families—one headed by Archie, the other by Archie's best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal. Pals since they served together in World War II, Archie and Samad are a decidedly unlikely pair. Plodding Archie is typical in every way until he marries Clara, a beautiful, toothless Jamaican woman half his age, and the couple have a daughter named Irie (the Jamaican word for "no problem"). Samad—devoutly Muslim, hopelessly "foreign"—weds the feisty and always suspicious Alsana in a prearranged union. They have twin sons named Millat and Magid, one a pot-smoking punk-cum-militant Muslim and the other an insufferable science nerd. The riotous and tortured histories of the Joneses and the Iqbals are fundamentally intertwined, capturing an empire's worth of cultural identity, history, and hope.

Zadie Smith's dazzling first novel plays out its bounding, vibrant course in a Jamaican hair salon in North London, an Indian restaurant in Leicester Square, an Irish poolroom turned immigrant café, a liberal publicschool, a sleek science institute. A winning debut in every respect, White Teeth marks the arrival of a wondrously talented writer who takes on the big themes—faith, race, gender, history, and culture—and triumphs.

About the Author:
Zadie Smith is twenty-four years old and a graduate of Cambridge University. White Teeth is her first novel, parts of which have appeared in Granta. Smith lives in North London.|

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375703867
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/12/2001
Series: International Series
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 46,643
Product dimensions: 7.98(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.05(d)
Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time, as well as a novella, The Embassy of Cambodia, and a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. She is also the editor of The Book of Other People. Zadie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002, and was listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013. White Teeth won multiple literary awards including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and NW was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Hometown:

London, England

Date of Birth:

October 27, 1975

Place of Birth:

Willesden, London, England

Education:

B.A. in English, King's College at Cambridge University, 1998

Customer Reviews

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White Teeth 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
3 1/2 stars, really. Without a doubt, this is an ambitious and successful debut by a talented writer. Smith's voice is distinct and engaging, as well as funny in that sly British way (no American guffawing here). However, I was not 100% in love with 'White Teeth.' I'm not sure why, although it may have something to do with the fact that I invested so much time and energy to the characters (their lives, histories, relationships) only to have the ending kind of dribble to a close. Still, it was an enjoyable read¿¿I'm not sorry I read it and I would recommend it to others. Just be aware that depending on your tastes, it may not quite live up to all the glowing reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked Zadie Smith's writing style in that her descriptions were fantastic. The only thing this book was missing was a plot which is fairly important in my opinion. There were too many lulls to make me excited to pick it up to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Zadie Smith¿s writing style is without a doubt enjoyable. I laughed out loud. However, my opinion agrees with at least one other review listed here, and I quote the other reviewer because she says it perfectly, ¿if an author chooses to make certain cultures so significant/central to her work, she should at least try to present them accurately.¿ Her references to multiple cultures and religions are founded on shallow research if any at all. My advice to Smith would be to do the research by going to the source next time. Reference is made to stereotypical beliefs instead of actual truths about certain groups of people. Unfortunate for Zadie Smith, this would leave the millions of readers with those backgrounds or beliefs feeling misunderstood and misrepresented. If you are unfamiliar with the cultures and religions represented in this book you will certainly enjoy it. If you are Jamaican or if you have a background with or you are one of Jehovah¿s Witnesses you will find gaping wholes in some of the characters presented.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very enlightening on how minorities in the UK view life and live it. It was pretty long, I'll admit I did a bit of scimming through some pages, but the characters were very colorful, vibrant and definitely enjoyable. I would like to learn more about the author and her background. I wonder how she seemed to know so much about different cultural backgrounds. Besides evident research, she seemed to know first-hand in some way. Overall, the book is definitely readable, but I'd suggest borrowing it from the library instead of paying the $14.00.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There were times while reading this book that I was happy to put it down. But there were parts that were riveting. All in all, a solid debut novel by a young novelist. I wouldn't say great, but it's not bad.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Smith's prose reads as if she was paid by the word; was Random House unable to afford an editor? Some may say it is an extraordinary work considering Smith is in her early twenties--I would contend it would be extraordinary if her editor was 12. Pretentious phrasing and awkward metaphors plague the novel. Overall, despite significant themes and a serious message about race, class, and gender, White Teeth makes the reader want to use a thick black marker to edit each page. If it was the last book on earth, I would not read it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the reviews I heard I expected not to be able to put this book down. However, quite to the contrary it took me forever to read it. It was an ok read nothing to rave about.
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ariggles More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book! It's funny and seems to have something for just about everyone. I was continually amazed by it and would recommend it to almost anyone. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an example of contemporary writing and cohesion Smith reaches excellence. Her ability to show the reader the intricacies of so many cultures is amazing. I enjoyed the novel immensely.
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Tikigaud More than 1 year ago
I liked the style and development of the characters. Well done debut.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is highly entertaining and insightful; it's darkly comic without cynicism; Zadie Smith creates colorful, complex, and engrossing characters that are more than a match for her lively and inventive narrative voice. I'm looking forward to reading more of Smith's work.
anonymousKC More than 1 year ago
While I thought this book was well-written, the plot was dull. It was difficult to finish as I was not interested in the story.
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