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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 (418 )
5 star
 (142)
4 star
 (109)
3 star
 (90)
2 star
 (36)
1 star
 (41)
Overall
3.8 (204 )
5 star
 (78)
4 star
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3 star
 (38)
2 star
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1 star
 (13)
Story
4.1 (201 )
5 star
 (97)
4 star
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3 star
 (32)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (10)
Performance
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  •  
    Karen los angeles, CA, United States 11-29-11
    Karen los angeles, CA, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2005

    living in los angeles I drive a lot, so audio books save me from a lot of frustration!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
    ratings
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    179
    33
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    "An amazing voice from a new author!"

    This satiric look at British culture bounces all over the place, but although somewhat lacking in structure, the author's voice is so unique that I could listen to it all over again. The narration was one of the best I have ever heard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Warren, RI, United States 07-28-11
    Monica Warren, RI, United States 07-28-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
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    22
    5
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "May have been interesting, bad reader"

    I truly did like "On Beauty" and though that I'd try another Zadie Smith. I listened to the sample before buying, and the reader was pleasant enough. BUT that was the reader doing the third-person narrative. Had no idea of quite how horrible she'd be with the voices. I thought I'd get used to it, but just got more and more annoying. Had to give up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meyer Miami, FL, United States 01-30-11
    Meyer Miami, FL, United States 01-30-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    27
    5
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    1
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    Overall
    "Great story, bravura reading performance"

    This book is as good as its reputation, if not better. This is a generational saga in the best sense of that concept, full of compelling and affecting characters. If you are not British or live in Britain, the book benefits especially from the audio performance, because of all the different accents of all the characters involved. Riotously funny, but also tragic and sad, "White Teeth" is a portrayal of our times, of any big cosmopolitan city where past tradition and the modern world collide in explosive ways.
    The book kicks off with a suicide attempt and then flashbacks to World War II to return to a present day London where racial, religious and generational tensions simmer; but its greatness does not reside in its topicality, but in its finely etched character portrayals of 2 families, that of the bengali soldier who fought for the British in World War II, his long suffering but astute wife and their twin sons; and that of Archie, the suicidal soldier from World War II who marries a stunning but toothless beauty from Jamaica, and their sensitive daughter, and let's not forget about the Jehova Witness grandma from Jamaica, and dozens of memorable supporting characters.
    Smith takes jabs at the failings and sometimes ridiculous conduct of their characters, but firmly grounded in humanity and compassion (although to tell the truth, most of the men in the book are jerks or idiots), which gives the book a tremendous energy and vitality. Towards the end you fear the plot is heading towards a predictable ending, but fear not, there is a final twist.
    Justly acclaimed as one of the great books of the Decade of the 00s, Jenny Sterlin reading is also a tour de force; her voice takes some getting used to at the beginning, but very quickly one is dazzled by the care and precision put into each character's individual voice. A must hear!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue LEBANON, MO, United States 08-05-10
    Sue LEBANON, MO, United States 08-05-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
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    "Awful"

    Apostate. Awful. I started reading because of the reviews. It contains a lot of unnecessary language. It was a little weird and then it got into religion. Not what I listen for.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Ann Holtzman Chapel Hill NC 03-09-09
    Carol Ann Holtzman Chapel Hill NC 03-09-09 Member Since 2009

    Candy H.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    9
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "White Teeth gets boring!"

    I thought I'd really like this book. I enjoyed it initially, but then it started to drag and I've now lost interest entirely. I made it through about 4 hrs. and am giving up.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katharina SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA 05-31-09
    Katharina SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA 05-31-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    12
    4
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    "Worst book ever"

    I have read so many audiobooks in the last years and even though I didn't always like them, I was always able to finish. Not with this one! I barely got through the first hour. There is no plot, the intonation of the reader is annoying (mimicking a Southern accent) and it just dragged on.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mac Donald Azusa, Ca United States 04-01-13
    Mac Donald Azusa, Ca United States 04-01-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Horrible Narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes but not the audio book. I find the narrator extremely distracting and a bit over dramatic. In fact, I don't like to listen to this book at all because the narration is confusing and overly done, for my taste.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 08-06-08
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 08-06-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    143
    22
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    0
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    Overall
    "Please save your time"

    I thought this book would NEVER end. Why I finished it, I know not. Guess after investing so much time in it, I figured I'd hang in till the end. First of all, the narrater was excellent. Her various accents added much to the humor of the story. The writer is also way above average - many, many funny moments, great character development. Yet the story was just a waste. I kept waiting for a tidy ending - it never happened. Suffice it to say, I was relieved and glad to be finished with this.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Chicago, IL, USA 11-17-07
    Linda Chicago, IL, USA 11-17-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    6
    1
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    Overall
    "Underwhelmed"

    Book came highly recommended, and I am absolutely bored with the story line and characters. I've completed seven hours of listening and I'm not compelled to listen any further. It's slow and the characters are fully developed, but not yet interesting.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-27-10
    06-27-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    64
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    REVIEWS
    293
    27
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    3
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    Overall
    "Queen of Trashmouth Garbage"

    This is one of the worst pieces of garbage I have heard from Audible. No story line, nothing but trash talk. I could not last past the first ten minutes, if I get one more piece of junk like this I will stop using Audible. Movies are rated to warn people if they are getting garbage, so should the audible books. An author who needs to add 90% swear words just to fill out her book should try something other than writing for a profession. JD

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
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