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 public school, 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.
The Times Literary Supplement
A writer of mighty potential.
A vibrant, multicultural extravaganza.
Darting between decades, cultures and generations, this chronicle of immigrant London fizzes with life.
Salon.com - Mario Russo
Like all the best comic writers, Smith is dead serious. She's got things to say about some big questions, and not just the politically trendy ones that the multicultural nature of her cast of characters might suggest..... White Teeth is life-affirming in a thoroughly unsentimental way.
This is a strikingly clever and funny book with a passion for ideas, for language, and for the rich tragicomedy of life. . . . [Smith's] characters always ring true; it is her ebullient, simple prose and her generous understanding of human nature that make Zadie Smith's novel outstanding. It is not only great fun to read, but full of hope.
A rich, ambitious, and often hilarious delight.
Bounding, vibrant, richly imagined and thoroughly engaging.
The first publishing sensation of the millennium.
Poised and relentlessly funny. . . . A major new talent.
The Evening Standard
Outstanding... refreshingly upbeat and deserving of all the attention it is getting.
The Observer Magazine
The biggest literary talent for 2000... One of the most impressive first
novels of recent years.
Zadie Smith's fizzing first novel is about how we all got here--from the Caribbean, from the Indian subcontinent, from thirteenth place in a long-ago Olympic bicycle race--and about what here turned out to be. It's an astonishingly assured debut, funny and serious, and the voice has real writerly idiosyncrasy. I was delighted by White Teeth and often impressed. It has . . . bite.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by eric hate this book This book sucked! I had to read it for my english class, and I had to do a 5 page research paper on it. The language, words, and different plotts do not make any sence to me. How do you find racism, apathy, discrimination, acculturation,... Read More
Review (not rated)
by diriye osman
The concept that really jars me whenever i read White Teeth reviews are the laudations that are thrust upon the writer, Ms Smith, for being 24 years old when she published her remarkable debut. Mary Shelley, Ben Okri and Charles Dickens were all... Read More
Rated of 5
I didn't like the book for several reasons. I felt the characters were either underdrawn, overdrawn or were so inconsistant in their behaviour as to be shallow. Examples of this are mostly seen in the twins with Millat, the super gangster, giving... Read More
Rated of 5
Incredible first novel for someone so young. It is a wonderful look at the modern world that we all have to find some way to get along with people very different from ourselves. Also a moving look at the harm and benefits of assimilation into... Read More
Rated of 5
I am only part way through the book but feel that I can offer a valuable review. It is a great read. It is not about one particualr subject rather it deals with a lot of stories that inter-twine. Its serious and funny and real...in the way... Read More
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