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Still, the book's home base is a scrubby North London borough, where we encounter Smith's unlikely heroes: prevaricating Archie Jones and intemperate Samad Iqbal, who served together in the so-called Buggered Battalion during World War II. In the ensuing decades, both have gone forth and multiplied: Archie marries beautiful, bucktoothed Clara--who's on the run from her Jehovah's Witness mother--and fathers a daughter. Samad marries stroppy Alsana, who gives birth to twin sons. Here is multiculturalism in its most elemental form: "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. Even a simple exchange between Alsana and Clara about their pregnancies has a comical ring of truth: "A woman has to have the private things--a husband needn't be involved in body business, in a lady's... parts." And the men, of course, have their own involvement in bodily functions:
The deal was this: on January 1, 1980, like a New Year dieter who gives up cheese on the condition that he can have chocolate, Samad gave up masturbation so that he might drink. It was a deal, a business proposition, that he had made with God: Samad being the party of the first part, God being the sleeping partner. And since that day Samad had enjoyed relative spiritual peace and many a frothy Guinness with Archibald Jones; he had even developed the habit of taking his last gulp looking up at the sky like a Christian, thinking: I'm basically a good man.Not all of White Teeth is so amusingly carnal. The mixed blessings of assimilation, for example, are an ongoing torture for Samad as he watches his sons grow up. "They have both lost their way," he grumbles. "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." These classic immigrant fears--of dilution and disappearance--are no laughing matter. But in the end, they're exactly what gives White Teeth its lasting power and undeniable bite. --Eithne Farry --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Nonsense, pretentious. I read most of it on the Stairmaster so perhaps that might explain why j loathed reading this.Published 1 day ago by Tony
Kind of a mess as the author intorduces more characters than s/he chose to develop. Long discourses on Muslim morality seem contradict the actions. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Doug Easterling
A mess of great characters. Stirred together and you keep seeing that connections must come.
And then they do. Read more
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I would have loved it more if I hadn't had to write a research paper on it but hey, I can't be picky. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Beverly Steele
I am beyond charmed at the cleverness of the prose. It is startling, delightful, and refreshing. The characters dialog is colorful and oh-so-unique.Published 25 days ago by Marti Trunnell
Beginning with a failed suicide and ending with a thwarted assassination, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth is a tour-de-force of tragicomedy. Read morePublished 25 days ago by J. Laurence
Super interesting read! Smith tells the intersecting story of two families, multiple cultures, belief frameworks, and histories all coming together and how they all struggle to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Margaret Carmel
Sorry but could not finish this book and I returned it. I really wanted to like it, and I was expecting to be swept away based on the rave critics. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer