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White Teeth | [Zadie Smith]

White Teeth

Archie's life has disintegrated. Fresh from a dead marriage, middle-aged Archie stretches out a vacuum hose, seals up his car and prepares to die. But unbeknownst to him, his darkest hour is also his luckiest day. With the opening of a butcher's shop, his life is saved and soon he is on his way to beginning a new life with a young Jamaican woman looking for the last man on earth.
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Publisher's Summary

Archie's life has disintegrated. Fresh from a dead marriage, middle-aged Archie stretches out a vacuum hose, seals up his car and prepares to die. But unbeknownst to him, his darkest hour is also his luckiest day. With the opening of a butcher's shop, his life is saved, and soon he is on his way to beginning a new life with a young Jamaican woman looking for the last man on earth.

Drawing you in with the immediacy of her tantalizing wit, Zadie Smith sets herself apart as a defining voice of contemporary literature. Her internationally acclaimed novel boldly and humorously bridges three London families across a cultural and generational divide.

©2000 Zadie Smith; (P)2001 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

"The scrambled, heterogeneous sprawl of mixed-race and immigrant family life in gritty London nearly overflows the bounds of this stunning, polymathic debut novel." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (426 )
5 star
 (146)
4 star
 (113)
3 star
 (90)
2 star
 (36)
1 star
 (41)
Overall
3.9 (213 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (209 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (10)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Susan Portland, ME, USA 11-14-07
    Susan Portland, ME, USA 11-14-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Superb narration"

    This was one of the best audio books I've listened to. The narrator was fantastic, doing a variety of different accents really well. The story was interesting and engaging, (although at times it felt like it strayed a little too far from topic and the characters rants became a bit tedious). At times it was laugh out loud hysterical. The language is probably what set this book apart for me -- the dialects, colloquialisms, and plenty of Bengali and English cursing - just funny. But more than that...thought provoking and enlightening -- I felt like I learned a lot about what it feels like to be an immigrant, always a stranger where you live. The author does a terrific job of presenting several differing and relatively extreme viewpoints on God/religion, which I did not expect and enjoyed.

    It's quite long, which I also liked - the main story covers about 20 years or so, but there is also a great deal of character history (Bengal, India, Pakistan, Jamaica) included too. It's a fun ride - worth the time.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kasia GdanskPoland 01-11-08
    Kasia GdanskPoland 01-11-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "brilliant!"

    A great overview of multicultural society. Many voices that can be heard: views of different cultures brilliantly shown to the reader and, even more so, to the listening audience of the audiobook. You actually CAN HEAR those multicultural voices and see their diversity and divergence. I downloaded the book because I thought I should read it, and then, gradually, I have been drawn into it and loved its many voices and viewpoints. It's both poignant and funny, sarcastic and understanding at the same time.
    It may be long, but it is really good.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 06-18-10
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 06-18-10 Member Since 2005

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2439
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    712
    164
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1028
    20
    Overall
    "A Really Good Book"

    A story of a mouse with man-made tumors and the scientist who made him, twin boys (one who is irresistible to women of all ages), a Bengali family, some Jehovah's witnesses, two lesbians, a few animal rights activists, two veterans of WWII, a failed suicide, lots of recreational drug use, and more. All this in a sometimes funny and poignant story.
    The narrator is very good with the various accents and he held my interest throughout.
    I truly enjoyed this book and really like this author.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Racine, WI, USA 04-04-08
    Susan Racine, WI, USA 04-04-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Quite a listen"

    I am so glad I downloaded the audio version of White Teeth because I doubt I would have gotten as much out of (or ever finished) the book. The narration adds a whole new level to the characters.

    Yes, this book is long, but come on people, what a mind! Smith has a brilliant way of bringing up modern questions and concerns wrapped up in subtle humor and over the top personalities.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 08-15-08
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 08-15-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    109
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    198
    51
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    FOLLOWING
    11
    0
    Overall
    "Beyond Brilliant -Sense of Humor Required"

    White Teeth defies description. If you have no sense of humor don't bother. Many spots will cause a giggle and broad smile to cross your face. Then there those that you will undoubtedly laugh out loud. Way fattening if it were edible.
    Characters I found to be well developed and lovable. As for a plot, that didn't come clear to me til part three.
    All in all this is a unique and addicting novel. Already I know that I'll be listening again, and again. Surely this penning will never grow old.
    Now Ms Zadie Smith is there a follow up to White Teeth?

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Providence, RI, United States 06-23-10
    Andrea Providence, RI, United States 06-23-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    49
    12
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    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Great reader"

    Jenny Sterlin does a wonderful job on this one. Her reading is engaging and does a great job bringing the different characters to life. Nice timing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    11-05-09
    11-05-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Interesting... finally!"

    When my book club chose this title I checked it out of my local library but couldn't get through 10 pages without falling asleep. I was thrilled to find it on Audible. While it takes forever for the plot to develop... nearly two thirds of the way into the story... I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator. She voiced every character so well you hardly needed to be told who was speaking! While it is a long story and it takes a while for the plot to develop, the reader and ending are worth the wait

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Holland Decatur, GA USA 09-22-10
    Robert Holland Decatur, GA USA 09-22-10 Member Since 2009

    quiltchannel.com

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Multicultural comedy of manners (and more)"

    I have listened to On Beauty and loved it, but White Teeth really bites into the depth of the divide between east and west, Muslim and Christian (and atheist) with a marvelously rendered set of characters. The plot does have a long developmental arc, but that seems beside the point. The characters and the subplots are of sufficient interest in themselves. The resolution was a bit over the top, but this book isn't about realism. All of the loose ends were tied up in a not-too-tidy bundle, because this story is anything but tidy.

    Jenny Sterlin does a great job with the narration.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yudeshtra Ilala Ridge, South Africa 02-24-11
    Yudeshtra Ilala Ridge, South Africa 02-24-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    0
    0
    Overall
    "Entertaining and enjoyable novel."

    Colourful and entertaining! a Good read. I enjoyed the blend of cultures and religions. Zadie Smith has a good grasp of inter-race relationship between 1st generation foreigners living in London.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Calgary, Alberta, Canada 01-28-09
    Kenneth Calgary, Alberta, Canada 01-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    165
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    66
    27
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    2
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    Overall
    "Complex, thoughtful but fun"

    The intertwining of 3 English families at the close of the last millenium is the subject of this novel that is both thoughtful and light-hearted. The lives of Jamaican and Bangladeshi immigrants are recorded along with the inevitable conflicts between these immigrants and their offspring who grow up in England. A real tour de force.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 40 results PREVIOUS124NEXT
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  • Victoria
    OAKHAM, United Kingdom
    11/20/12
    Overall
    "Not Zadie Smith's words...."

    This is one of my favourite novels, and this version destroyed it! Although it claims to be unabridged, this is not the case, as in many places it has been Americanized - "Quality Street" was read as "Quality Street candy", words such as windshield, trash were inserted.

    These are not the terms used in the novel itself, I was extremely disappointed to find that this 'unabridged' version is very different to what Smith actually wrote. This may seem like a small thing, but use of American English dramatically alters the tone, especially as the novel is meant to reflect contemporary England!



    I do not reccomend at all!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Barrie
    Dudley, United Kingdom
    8/13/08
    Overall
    "can't believe I finished it!"

    I found this book boring, and directionless. Really wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Can't think of anything positive to say about it at all. Weird characters. Reader sounded miserable.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • PB
    Solihull
    3/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awful but I had to finish it"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would change the fact that I ever bought this book


    What could Zadie Smith have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Not written it


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jenny Sterlin’s performances?

    yes


    Do you think White Teeth needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No no no no no no no no no no


    Any additional comments?

    This book was awful. Dreadful story, awful characters but must have something as I had to listen until the end. ( I really wish I hadn't).This book was set in England and really annoyingly every now and again American words were used. 'Bangs', 'Block', 'Trunk'.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Naledi
    Bielefeld, Germany
    11/22/12
    Overall
    "Comfortable listen"

    Read the book a few years ago and loved it and have really enjoyed listening to it now. Maybe I found it more interesting listening to it since I was familiar with the story line. I do agree that it isn't a very direct story line but it doesn't have to be. I believe that the book lives off the characters and that the voices given to them in this audiobook make them even more vivid.Personally, I found the different accents well-performed and the voice of the reader really good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • martin
    MACCLESFIELD, United Kingdom
    2/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Its not you Zadie...its me"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    A sophisticated Lady perhaps


    Would you ever listen to anything by Zadie Smith again?

    Erm....no


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    She was great but I gave up after 3 hours im afraid


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    not really...so if i'm coming across as a uncultered peasant.


    Any additional comments?

    i kept drifting off....losing interest hope you enjoy it though!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    12/28/07
    Overall
    "Not exactly gripping"

    I probably shouldn't have chosen this. I sometimes read contemporary fiction, and I thought I'd see how the audio format suited it.

    It just wasn't gripping enough. The characters were well painted, but not particularly attractive, and their lives weren't interesting enough for me to care what happened. The pace of the audio format was too slow for the narrative, so I got impatient. The conclusion, which brought some of the earlier plot strands together, I thought was lame.

    The reading itself was in an English voice but seemed to be from an American version - 'diaper' for 'nappy', 'trunk' for 'boot' of the car and so on, although the book's setting is London. There are a several accents - Bangladeshi, Jamaican, London - and occasionally I wasn't sure which I was listening to.

    It's a very popular book, so I'm content to think I'm the exception rather than the rule. Just not my cup of tea, I'm afraid. I'd better stick to the likes of P.G.Wodehouse and Daphne du Maurier.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results

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