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)
I loved the humor and humanity of the characters and the story. It is so easy to paint two dimensional caricatures of those "others" and this story transcends.
I just sent off this memo to Netflix... I couldn't wait to finish the book.
"I have enjoyed this book immensely and the more I've gotten into it-(I'm almost done), the more I imagine Netflix turning this into a series. The book has everything: interesting and intelligent characters, diversity up the ying yang, poignancy, insight into east & western cultures...and best of all done with such humour! I have not read anything this funny in so long; sly and blatant both! Please please please consider it!!! Also, just wanted to mention that I have been listening to this on Audible, the book narrated by Jenny Sterlin. She does an amazing job and if you haven't heard this, DO listen! She defines and illuminates this book like nobody I've ever listened to. Her take is the one you need to go after!"
I don't have the words... This book is so clever, so intelligent and so funny!!!!
It's got everything.
I have listened to her read other books (Elizabeth George books?). She's a fine narrator, no complaints. But the book, of course, has much to do with how much you can achieve as a narrator. This is such a good book for Jenny to read, and she just get's it! She gets these characters and illuminates them, she helps us see them, really see them. I feel like she and the author must be sympatico souls, on the same wave length, everything "fit"! And, well I just know I wouldn't have gotten as much from this book if I'd read only the print version.
Really good question for this book. The characters are flawed of course, but all quite likable.
I think I'd have to pick Alsana...she is a hoot and says it like she sees it. A great example of being somewhat entrenched in the culture from which she derives, but also able to see how the new culture (she & her family are British transplants from Bangladesh) is influencing her young sons and herself and how miserable her husband, Samad, is because he refuses to see anything apart from his Bangal (?) beliefs and traditions! She is quite a modern woman emerging from an old culture entrenched in tradition.
But I also loved Irie (I picture her as the Narrator for the Netflix series I imagine). Also one of the few characters who you feel like she "sees" what's going on all around her; she understands the dynamics of these people, what motivates them, what drives them. Both Alsana and Irie are characters who ground the reader and bring us back from the brink of unreality, that feels like insanity some times. This is kind of wild and crazy ride of a book really.
Be patient reader. It took a bit before I really got excited about this book, but not too long. It takes time to get to know a character well. I wouldn't change a thing, because the beginning stories which follow the patriarchs of the two main families, are really necessary. Their story and all of the individual stories each character has, is told subsequently, and together, they pull you into the midst of these families in a way that you feel like you really "know" them and even understand them quite well. Maybe you even belong to them.
The characters are all great, well developed, interesting. The overall structure of the story is also great though it becomes a little contrived by the end. It's very engaging throughout, and the great performance enhances that.
"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!
"Immigrant drudgery, dreams, dilemma and Drama..."
It ranks one among top ten. To be honest I have read it in print form ten years ago. I picked it up on a whim despite knowing what was in store. But did I ... the narrator gets a perfect ten from me. Jenny Sterlin , the narrator makes this audio book stand out from its print edition. What a performance ... the audio book brings out the London of the 80's and 90's so vividly in front of you. Each character there is personified so bautifully that i think i know them all so close to my heart. Few books have been narrated so well as this one. A must read ... ah .. sorry .. A must listen .
The story talks about immigrants and their struggle to retain their identity with their past roots while at the same time establish one in the present. It gets even more complex with the second and third generation immigrants who are farthest from their genetic and geographic roots, yet are drawn into the struggle.
Jenny Sterlin .. you rock. Among audio books you are by far one of the best I have heard. It must have been a great effort to bring out the nunaces of all the complex characters and their accents. From Clara to Samad, Hortense to Alsana, Archie to the Chalfens each of them is so different .. yet Jenny Sterlin delivers it so effortlessly by bringing out the subtle nuances in pronounciations and accents.
I think and laughed and cried many times over. Immigrant struggle is close to my heart and having lived in london i can relate to each of these characters like they were my next door neighbours.
White teeth as a book in print version was a well deserved best seller. It's audio version is even better. This book is best relished in its audio version than in the print form.
"Teeth and Roots"
I did enjoy a less chocolate box presentation of my home country and i instantly found things that i recognized.
The most interesting thing was the fact that both the school and the Chalfen family make huge bounding assumptions about Jones and Iqbal families, assuming that the parenting is poor and unfeeling because of economic status and from ethnic minority groups, but they themselves ignore their own dysfunction.
Embarrassing their children, causing problems between Irie & Millat and their parents, then assuming that the dysfuction can be placed on their ethnic roots. They fail to see this but are geneticists and pride themselves on erudition.
The Narrator, the West Indian accents were butchered, i wish they hadn't been attempted. the South Asian accents were slightly better. All in all it was ok, if a little distracting
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.
"A very tedious read! Despite perseverance - awful!"
A more articulate narrator
Less non eventful contributions to the storyline
A number of them....................
So looking forward to listening to this book - a real disappointment!
"Awful but I had to finish it"
I would change the fact that I ever bought this book
Not written it
No no no no no no no no no no
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'.
"Its not you Zadie...its me"
A sophisticated Lady perhaps
She was great but I gave up after 3 hours im afraid
not really...so if i'm coming across as a uncultered peasant.
i kept drifting off....losing interest hope you enjoy it though!
"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.
"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.
"My favourite book so far!"
Absolutely loved it!! Brilliant multicultured London, excellent characters that I'm going to miss!
In love with Zadie Smith!!
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