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Publisher's Summary

Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own.

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born) produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London's racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

©2000 Zadie Smith (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Zadie Smith's fizzing first novel is about how we all got here - from the Caribbean, from the Indian subcontinent, from 13th place in a long-ago Olympic bicycle race - and about what 'here' turned out to be. It's an astonishingly assured debut, funny and serious, and the voice has real writerly idiosyncrasy. I was delighted by White Teeth and often impressed. It has...bite." (Salman Rushdie)

"A rich, ambitious, and often hilarious delight." (The Independent)

"This is a strikingly clever and funny book with a passion for ideas, for language, and for the rich tragicomedy of life.... [Smith's] characters always ring true; it is her ebullient, simple prose and her generous understanding of human nature that make Zadie Smith's novel outstanding. It is not only great fun to read, but full of hope." (Sunday Telegraph)

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What listeners say about White Teeth

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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4.68 stars....a modern classic

White Teeth has been rerecorded and re-released, and the results are fantastic. Zadie Smith combines humor and dysfunction and family drama into narrative that spans decades, and the end result is impressive. White Teeth made the PBS top 100 books list, and this novel made it for a reason. For lovers of contemporary lit fic, White Teeth hits all the marks. There are numerous narrators of this audio version, similar to a full cast, and while I usually prefer a single narrator, it works in this case, mostly because all the narrators are really good. For the nitpickers, there a couple sections near the beginning of the book with editorial/technical errors, though very minor ones and small price to pay for this audiobook. Zadie's newly released version of White Teeth is a winner.

Overall rating: 4.68 stars.

19 people found this helpful

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loved it

great story, & narration . insightful character development. beautifully crafted. a great read- may need to read it twice to truly get it all.

4 people found this helpful

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Not inspired

It was difficult to get through, only saving grace is that it's an audiobook. This book was proposed by a Bookclub I belong to, and I will need some input by the members to help me figure out the purpose of this read.
I didn't like the narrator in the first half, it got better after a female narrator was introduced. Very drawn out explanation from Samad , and then the ending was very rushed, left me wondering, but not in a good way.

1 person found this helpful

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The characters came to life

Wow, such fun to listen to the narration. This book entwines stories across generations and delves into race, immigration, love and identity. It's incredible how deeply these characters unfold. The narration draws you in and adds so much. Cannot recommend this enough!

2 people found this helpful

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Great prose and some amazing narration

Enjoyed this highly entertaining epic of a book about the struggles of immigrant culture in London. Call it a working class Forsythe Saga. Zadie Smith is brilliant here. All narrators are good but Pippa Bennett-Warne really shines. Her sharp and excellent depictions of Jamaican, Indian, cockney and RP accents make you wonder why she didn’t narrate the whole book. When the last narrator delivers a more or less straight read for all the characters I found myself imagining Ms Bennett-Warner’s voice. Still the power of the prose carries it through.

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Energy, humor and pathos

I love so much about this book and recording. The internal monolgues are so engaging, sad, complicated but necessarily so. Was not a fan of Sam and Poppy together something needed to happen to create the situation with the twins. I also have grown tired of the weaving of several stories to an all main characters meet at the end, when a major event happens. I find it to be a bit of a forced ending. In any event, I can't wait to read another one of her books.

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Well done

Well read, enjoyed all the narrators. And the story is both funny and poignant. Highly recommend.

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Fabulous. Complex. Funny.

I had to really listen to this one or I’d lose the storyline or miss something really funny, so I hit the Rewind button quite a bit but sometimes I loved a passage so much that I listened to it a few times for the sheer enjoyment of it or to remember it better.

Lots of philosophy-spouting in this one.
Different points of view from varying generations, religions, races, nationalities. Rich language. Sassy and gritty. Clever. Sometimes went in a bit long but overall a very enjoyable, cerebral read.

I love the characters and how they interact.

I’ll be reading it again for laughs and to pick up what I missed the first time. The readers in the audible version added a lot of character to the story.

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Quirky, but no heart

This boils down to personal preference. I don’t like nonsense books. Catch-22, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Alice in Wonderland are all what I consider to be nonsense books. I didn’t like those either.
White a teeth has some funny dialogue, but the whole story felt disjointed. The characters all belong together and their stories are intertwined, but you don’t really feel that. I was not invested in any character or the story. I didn’t like any character or the story. I only became vaguely interested more than halfway through.
It is clever writing, but not for me.

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Intense and Confusing

This book was both quite interesting and intense, and at the same time hopelessly confusing. Very Good all around.