Smith, Zadie White Teeth

ISBN 13: 9780141803463

White Teeth

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( 85,131 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780141803463: White Teeth

WHITE TEETH is still one of the most talked-about fictional debuts of recent years. Meet the Joneses and the Iqbals, two families brought together by friendship, tangled histories and the London suburb of Willesden Green... WHITE TEETH dealswith - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle.

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Review:

Epic in scale and intimate in approach, White Teeth is an ambitious novel. Genetics, eugenics, gender, race, class and history are the book's themes but Zadie Smith is gifted with the wit and inventiveness to make these weighty ideas seem effortlessly light.

The story travels through Jamaica, Turkey, Bangladesh and India but ends up in a scrubby North London borough, home of the book's two unlikely heroes: prevaricating Archie Jones and intemperate Samad Iqbal. They met in the Second World War, as part of a "Buggered Battalion" and have been best friends ever since. Archie marries beautiful, buck-toothed Clara, who's on the run from her Jehovah's Witness mother, and they have a daughter, Irie. Samad marries stroppy Alsana and they have twin sons: "Children with first and last names on a direct collision course. Names that secrete within them mass exodus, cramped boats and planes, cold arrivals, medical checks."

Big questions demand boldly drawn characters. Zadie Smith's aren't heroic, just real: warm, funny, misguided and entirely familiar; reading their conversations is like eavesdropping. A simple scene, Alsana and Clara chatting about their pregnancies in the park: "A woman has to have the private things--a husband needn't be involved in body business, in a lady's ... parts."

Samad's rant about his sons--"They have both lost their way. Strayed so far from what I had intended for them. No doubt they will both marry white women called Sheila and put me in an early grave--acutely displays "the immigrant fears--dissolution, disappearance" but it also gets to the very heart of Samad.

White Teeth is a joy to read. It teems with life and exuberence and has enough cleverness and irreverent seriousness to give it bite. --Eithne Farry

Review:

She is . . . a George Eliot of multi-culturalism ( Daily Telegraph)

The first publishing sensation of the millennium ( Observer)

White Teeth reflects a new generation ( Guardian)

[Zadie Smith] is one of the prominent voices of her generation

( Sunday Times)

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