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)
White Teeth was published in 2000, and that mundane note becomes pretty damn important when you read the book, which touches on the immigrant experience and how that might lead to dabbling in.... well, terrorism.
That's decidedly not what this book is about -- it's about people and families and identity and the like -- but it's a connective tissue all readers in 2016 certainly will feel. Sure, that's about Smith's perhaps unintentional prescience, but it's also about how societal issues can heat from tepid to a roiling boil.
Fact is, I read this book when it came out, hotly hyped, and didn't particularly enjoy it. My explanation was pretty typical "I didn't like any of the characters." Yet reading it 16 or so years later, as I have a wife and family now, it connected with me much more deeply. Further, Jenny Sterlin's narration is nothing short of exceptional. I'd venture the idea that in a book where there is such a diversity of accents, you almost need the Audible experience to properly digest this sprawling, multi-voiced story.
And I gotta say I had no recollection about how freaking funny this book is. There are parts that are comic genius that blew past me during my first, exasperated reading that Sterlin captures perfectly.
So that's might ultimate judgment here: If you haven't read this book, you should listen to it. And if you've read it, you probably should give it a run on Audible because the experience will deepen and expand upon your recollection of your previous reading.
Absolutely could not keep my interest. I kept listening, hoping it would get better, then I realized life is too short for bad books.
The book is great but there is an error in the audio/chapter breaks that has them come at the wrong time making the actual chapter breaks come in the middle of the digital chapters and sentences crammed on top of one another when the digital chapter switches over mid actual chapter.
This book is incredible. The memories pile up as you follow the characters through their lives in a way I've never experienced before. The performance contributed effectively without being distracting. Magnificent.
The story line really is amazing. Three generations have their stories blended together showing that fate cannot be escaped.
The narrator gets her accents mixed up once in a while but that's the only bad part.
Engaging story with skillful characterization. Narrator was slow-paced in many passages, but colorful. The humor is refreshing.
There are some interesting ideas and insights in this book. Unfortunately, they're completely swamped by the many obvious, implausible, silly, and downright ridiculous elements that I found myself more and more anxious to finish the book. Not so I could find out how it ends, but just so it would end. I kept thinking this must have been written for 'young adults,' but clearly it wasn't. It's just not very well written.
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