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
"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)
Zadie Smith is a great writer. She's funny, creates marvelous characters, and has a fantastic ear for diverse speech patterns. I've listened to over 100 audiobooks; this was one of my favorites so far. Jenny Sterlin, the narrator, does a wonderful job handling all the different accents and putting ironic inflections into her narration at just the right moments. I found the very end of the book a little unsatisfactory. There's some great plotting to get to that point, but then the climactic scene and the little coda that follows seem rushed. But that's a small criticism; overall, I thoroughly enjoy the book.
I liked the comedic parts of this book,but felt that it could have been a little better plot-wise.The sudden political parts confused me,when the narrator went from a paragraph about the family and then to something about a war and somewbody being a captain....if it wasn't for that,I'dve given it another star.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
White teeth is about two families: Jones and the Icbals. The setting is England in the 60-90s. the plot follows the early development of the families and how they morph and change. If it sounds boring -- it is. The first half of the novel can be deleted and no one would miss a thing. I suggest you start right half way through if I haven't dissuaded you. The only, and I mean only thing that this novel has is hilarious moments dusted throughout here and there like pigeon droppings. Smith manages to turn a phase with the best of them. I very much liked those parts.
I am sad to say that I didn't feel connected to any of the main characters although a few background characters were entertaining at times. Even the humor couldn't carry this novel over the goal line. If the first part of of the book could be deleted, then the last fifteen minutes covered so much ground I though I was reading a cliff note of a cliff note.
Who is going to like this novel better that I? My guess is young people (in their twenties) who have an off-beat sense of humor and are into quirky and perhaps a bit of satiric humor. If it weren't for the ha-has, I would have given it a one. Although, I admit Goldfinch was brutally worse coming in at zero stars -- so there is that.
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.
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
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
A smart, hilarious, and surprisingly knowing novel for such a young author (who belongs to my own generation), White Teeth is one of my favorite books. Beginning with the absurd failed suicide of a haplessly indecisive middle-aged Englishman named Archie, who reminds me a little of Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then moving on to his friend Samad, a hilariously self-important, argumentative Bengali (whose "slapping your salami" discussion had me snorting with laughter and trying not to drive off the road), the story eventually comes to encompass the key members of three colorfully fractious families, across several generations.
This book is similar to Joseph Heller's Catch-22 in that it uses exaggerated characters and absurd situations to make its point. But, in my opinion, Smith writes with a keen eye for satire and an effortless authority that suggests much personal experience with born-again Jamaican grandmothers, irascible Indian housewives, white hippie-scientists with overly progressive parenting styles, and other figures that populate multicultural, urban Britain. Some readers might fault her for being a little too cynical with her characters, who are put into caricature boxes that they never quite manage to escape, or a little too self-indulgent (which I thought was true in spots) but, overall, I enjoyed her wit and felt that it was rooted in compassion, offering surprisingly mature insights into culture clashes, growing up, growing older, and the mental contortions people put themselves through in order to put on a front for the world or themselves, despite what they actually feel inside.
White Teeth isn't a very plot-driven book, taking snapshots of its central figures and their lives through multiple decades, but it's this epic sweep, I think, that really gives Smith's novel resonance. From beneath the comic posturing and postulations of her characters emerges a true sense of the vital undercurrents of history, as seen by a member of the generation about to inherit it. Few writers in their 30s show such talent, let alone those among Smith's 20-something peers (back when she wrote the book, that is). Vibrant, funny, and moving -- highly recommended.
The audiobook rendering was excellent, and might even make the listening experience preferable to reading the print version. The narrator did a great job with all the accents.
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.
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.
After reading On Beauty, which was FABULOUS, I could hardly wait to read White Teeth, Zadie Smith's first book. What a disappointment! I found it very difficult to follow the transitions between characters and didn't find any of the characters interesting enough to make me want to follow them. There was very little light or redemption in site and the characters were not only bleek and seedy but boring as well. In the end, I gave up about 2/3 of the way through, telling myself "this is just more than I wanted to know about turtles".
Incredibly intricate, multilayered story, with fantastic attention to detail.
The character build up and perfectly timed twists and turns.
I hated her voice at the start, but wow, what an incredible performer!
At times it made me very uncomfortable, which is a good thing. It opened my mind, especially in terms of better understanding how it is to feel as a outsider living in a foreign land, even if you've lived there all your life. Multiple moments of laughter, no tears.
I don't think I would have been able to finish the book, as some parts are a bit tedious, but the audiobook is well worth a read. Thoroughly enjoyed Smith's writing; she is incredibly talented.
"Good novel but not a great reading"
Bengali, Jamaican, Irish and Scottish accents all terrible to the point of being offensive. Would far rather a straight reading if the narrator is incapable of doing the voices. It also grates the u.k listener to hear quality streets referred to as 'candy' fringes referred to as 'bangs' and squash referred to as 'fruit drink' i dare say American listeners could work it out from the context. Hearing words we'd never use spoils the flow off the work.
A book truly worth reading, real life on a piece of paper! Narrative dealing with serious and complex issues of contemporary society balanced off in a humorous tons with just the right amount of sarcasm and irony. LOVED IT!!!
A real modern classic. Wonderful characters, story and prose. Jenny Sterlin's performance is superb. If you like Middlemarch I think you'll like this epic saga. It quite funny too.
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