White Teeth by Zadie Smith
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Zadie Smith

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ZADIE SMITH was born in Northwest London in 1975. She is the author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and the essay collection Changing My Mind.
 
Published May 20, 2003 by Vintage. 464 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Cooking. Fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for White Teeth

Kirkus Reviews

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When they’re nine, their father separates the boys, sending Magid back to Bangladesh to be raised the oldfashioned way, far from the corruption of postwar London, filled with its mods and rockers and hippies and Englishmen and other bad influences—including Samad himself, who has been lusting aft...

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Publishers Weekly

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The scrambled, heterogeneous sprawl of mixed-race and immigrant family life in gritty London nearly overflows the bounds of this stunning, polymathic debut novel by 23-year-old British writer Smith. T

Apr 03 2000 | Read Full Review of White Teeth: A Novel

The Guardian

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Many writers - Jeanette Winterson, David Lodge, Hanif Kureishi, PD James, Ruth Rendell - were popularised by small-screen versions of novels with previously moderate sales.

Sep 16 2002 | Read Full Review of White Teeth: A Novel

The Guardian

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It will be interesting to see if the fastest growing branch of literary studies in Britain over the past decade - post-colonialism - decides that Zadie Smith belongs to its terra nova or not.

Oct 12 2002 | Read Full Review of White Teeth: A Novel

BC Books

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As Archie's thoughts are muddled by exhaust, we get a measure of the man who will be our protagonist: It was the thought of a whore he met once, twenty years ago, it was Daria and her smile that made him cover Mo's apron with tears of joy as the butcher saved his life.

Jul 10 2006 | Read Full Review of White Teeth: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

The 24 year old Smith portrays a world wrought from racial divisiveness through the families of Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, old friends whose bond goes back to the final days of World War II.

May 17 2000 | Read Full Review of White Teeth: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: A warm and humourous look at the immigrant experience in London of the late 20th century that still holds its own ten years on.

Sep 05 2011 | Read Full Review of White Teeth: A Novel

London Review of Books

Salman Rushdie called White Teeth ‘fizzing’ – and it’s been called many similar things since – which may sound a little misplaced with its hint of champagne, but it captures something of the boldness and variety of a novel that is 462 pages long and peopled with a generous selection of Londoners,...

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Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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