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White Teeth Audiobook

White Teeth

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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

3.9 (1212 )
5 star
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Overall
3.9 (931 )
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Story
4.3 (931 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 01-23-13
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 01-23-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Great writing, superb narration"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherray NewYork, NY, United States 12-13-09
    Sherray NewYork, NY, United States 12-13-09 Member Since 2016
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    "White Teeth"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GH Sherborn, MA, United States 10-30-14
    GH Sherborn, MA, United States 10-30-14 Member Since 2017

    I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.

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    "Disjoint Narrative w/Funny Moments Dusted Throuout"

    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.

    13 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Providence, RI, United States 06-23-10
    Andrea Providence, RI, United States 06-23-10
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    "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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janyce 11-05-09
    Janyce 11-05-09 Member Since 2008
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    "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

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 10-29-11
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 10-29-11 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

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    "Smart, Catch-22-esque"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yudeshtra Ilala Ridge, South Africa 02-24-11
    Yudeshtra Ilala Ridge, South Africa 02-24-11 Member Since 2016
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    "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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Holland Decatur, GA USA 09-22-10
    Rob Holland Decatur, GA USA 09-22-10 Member Since 2009
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    "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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jolinda Ramona, CA, USA 11-09-07
    Jolinda Ramona, CA, USA 11-09-07
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    "disappointed"

    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".

    16 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Michele Kelley 03-08-17 Member Since 2017

    As long as I have my Audible, I'm content.

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    "Overall an interesting listen, but no real WOW!"

    I really enjoyed listening to this, but it never really did wow me- just kept me listening. I especially loved Irie when she went off at the end about how she would love to be part of a family that didn't talk. She says,“Did you know this is how other families are?...What a peaceful existence. What a joy their lives must be. They open a door and all they've got behind it is a bathroom or living room. Just neutral spaces. And not this endless maze of present rooms and past rooms and the things said in them years ago and everybody's old historical shit all over the place. They're not constantly making the same old mistakes. They're not always hearing the same old shit. They don't do public performances of angst on public transport. Really, these people exist. I'm telling you. The biggest traumas of their lives are things like recarpeting. Bill-paying. Gate-fixing. They don't mind what their kids do in life as long as they're reasonably, you know, healthy. Happy. And every single fucking day is not this huge battle between who they are and who they should be, what they were and what they will be. Go on, ask them." There are SO many other great quotes from this book, but again, the story itself just wasn't all that compelling.

    The ending was a disappointment. It could be that I had stopped listening carefully, so I may have missed something, but I was really ready to be done with this one. Narrator was excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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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!

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • JGO
    Bangalore
    7/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Immigrant drudgery, dreams, dilemma and Drama..."
    Where does White Teeth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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 .


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What about Jenny Sterlin’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Naledi
    Norwich
    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Christine Morris
    10/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A very tedious read! Despite perseverance - awful!"
    What would have made White Teeth better?

    A more articulate narrator


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

    Less non eventful contributions to the storyline


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

    Not really


    What character would you cut from White Teeth?

    A number of them....................


    Any additional comments?

    So looking forward to listening to this book - a real disappointment!

    1 of 1 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'.

    3 of 4 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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ruth
    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Ama
    High Wycombe, United Kingdom
    2/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Teeth and Roots"
    What did you like best about White Teeth? What did you like least?

    I did enjoy a less chocolate box presentation of my home country and i instantly found things that i recognized.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    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.


    How could the performance have been better?

    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


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    Yes


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel
    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.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    6/23/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "really enjoyed it"

    it was long but worth it, struggled to remember every characters place in the story but did enjoy it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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