- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: Random House (2000)
- ASIN: B0052091VW
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (519 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,203,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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White Teeth (ARC) Unknown Binding – 2000
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|Unknown Binding, 2000||
Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
White Teeth is a brilliant novel, superbly confident in its execution. It starts off in 1975, the year of the author's birth, with the attempted suicide of Archibald Jones. Anyone who was born in 1970s Britain cannot fail but identify with the characters and events in this book. If you can recall the VW badge craze, then this is the book for you. However, this is not just a novel for the younger generation, for there is at least one extended family in White Teeth, each member of which is brought vividly to life. There's Archibald Jones and Samed Iqbal, who first meet in a British tank in 1945, and who then meet up again thirty years later to start the families featured within White Teeth. There's the brilliant and comic portrayal of the aged Hortense Bowden, an avid Jehovah's Witness, who keeps waiting for the end of the world.
Zadie Smith's novel has been described as Dickensenian, but I think there's a touch of Thackeray in there too. The author mocks her characters, and parodies them, but she also has a lot of compassion for them. No one, in the world of White Teeth, is beyond redemption. Zadie Smith's characters are truly vibrant. Take Samed Iqbal and his troubles with 'slapping the salami'. As a reader, you begin to wonder how Zadie Smith has such insight into the male mind and universe, because it rings so true.
For anyone embarking on a Cultural Studies course, this novel is a must. Throw away your textbooks with their dry statistics!Read more ›
She is most adept at drawing her characters--their physical characteristics, quirks and misgivings come alive on the page. Smith also provides sharp, witty insights on pop culture and life in the mixing bowl that is North London.
However, the elaborate character development takes away momentum from the plot, and has the effect of making the plot move in fits and starts. Just when I was starting to enjoy a scene or get into one character's actions, she'd go off on a tangent that seemed to link characters and actions only very remotely to each other. At times it felt a little self-indulgent, like she was admiring her own ability to turn a clever phrase or take the action momentarily off-course and then bring it back again.
By the time I was 400 pages into the book, I was asking, "How in the heck is she going to wrap this all up into an ending?" I think Smith was asking herself the same question at this point. The ending comes off as a bit of a stretch, but she does manage to pull things together reasonably well. Still, after I closed the cover, I said, "huh?" and had to go back and reread some earlier sections to figure out how they tied to the ending.
To me, this book needed a skilled editor who could tighten things up and keep things moving with out taking too much away from the rambling, bildungsroman-esque nature of the plot. It'll be interestesting to see what Smith has to say in her next novel--this one seemed to cover every base, at length.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I finished it. I was waiting for something to happen. DoloresPublished 23 days ago by DOLORES KAJFEZ
I loved the storyline and the way she was able to make the characters seem real. I enjoyed her writing style!Published 2 months ago by Susan Mathew
I enjoyed this book from start to finish. I even liked the voice with which Smith ends the novel, a brief meta discussion of what readers may or may not want to happen in the years... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Richard Bon
This book had ups and downs for me that probably settled somewhere around 3.5 stars.
I was drawn in by the initial story telling and the way the multi-generational tales... Read more