White Teeth

by Zadie Smith

Penguin Uk | February 6, 2001 | Trade Paperback

White Teeth is rated 4.1667 out of 5 by 12.
Zadie Smith's White Teeth is a classic international bestseller and an unforgettable portrait of London One of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book. 'Funny, clever ... and a rollicking good read' Independent 'An astonishingly assured début, funny and serious ... I was delighted' Salman Rushdie 'The almost preposterous talent was clear from the first pages' Julian Barnes, Guardian 'Quirky, sassy and wise ... a big, splashy, populous production reminiscent of books by Dickens and Salman Rushdie ... demonstrates both an instinctive storytelling talent and a fully fashioned voice that's street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time' New York Times 'Smith writes like an old hand, and, sometimes, like a dream' New Yorker 'Outstanding ... A strikingly clever and funny book with a passion for ideas, for language and for the rich tragic-comedy of life' Sunday Telegraph 'Do believe the hype' The Times 'Relentlessly funny ... idiosyncratic, and deeply felt' Guardian Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. Her debut novel, White Teeth, won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and the Commonwealth Writers' First Book Prize, and was included in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Her second novel, On Beauty, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has written two further novels, The Autograph Man and NW, a collection of essays, Changing My Mind, and also edited a short-story anthology, The Book of Other People.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 7.75 × 5.05 × 1.46 in

Published: February 6, 2001

Publisher: Penguin Uk

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0140276335

ISBN - 13: 9780140276336

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A slow read, but very good! White Teeth is the debut novel from Zadie Smith, who penned the epic story at the age of 24. At over 500-pages, I’m probably not the first person to admit that it took me more than a few days to finish reading. Have you ever read anything on speed reading? I’ve seen a few articles saying that if you read the first and last sentence of a paragraph, you should be able to get the gist of the entire paragraph, thus allowing you to speed through books. White Teeth is not something you can speed read through. I’d like to see anyone try. Every single sentence in this book is crafted with such precision that it’s hard to skip anything while attacking the pages. This is what made it so slow-going for me. Personally, I wouldn’t want to skip over anything—speed reading or not—is the purpose of reading not to enjoy the comingling of words? Zadie Smith does a beautiful job of doing just that in this sprawling classic. The story is about Archibald Jones, who starts off the novel by attempting suicide. He can’t make a decision without flipping a coin. His friend, Samad, is a Bengali who works as a waiter. They met in the second World War and tell their stories, past and present, throughout the novel. There is humor mixed with sorrow, love mixed with religion, and the journey of two men and their families as they try to make their mark on the world, wading through the social chaos that makes up postcolonial England. Smith’s characters throughout White Teeth are varied, vocal, and make dramatic (and surprising) appearances. It just goes to show that everyone is connected in one way or another. The hilarity that ensues within the novel is at times vulgar, poignant, and real. Right when you’re lost in the humor Smith sprinkles throughout, you can’t help but also think about the issues of loyalty to family and loyalty to the traditions of heritage. Can they both be accomplished in the search to make your own identity? My only qualm with White Teeth is that while there is a story going on, there are no major arcs or climaxes. There was no time during my read that I felt the page-turning urge to find out What Happened? The story is definitely a “drama” of a novel—something you go through to meet the characters and witness their lives, not necessarily to be lost in intrigue and mystery. It might not be for everyone, but White Teeth is a definite must-read. While you may want to push your way through the novel, eager to move onto your next read, adding White Teeth to your pile of classics-read, take your time. Move slowly through the landscapes, dialogue, and characters that Smith created. You don’t want to miss a thing.
Date published: 2012-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Bad At All I had to give this book the benefit of the doubt because quite honestly I had to struggle through the first half of it. The writing however, kept me going and the plot definitely improved past the half-way mark. I really enjoyed the story - it certainly wasn't as side-splitting funny as I thought it might be, but there were also some really great (hilarious) moments. Stick with it - it's worth it!
Date published: 2009-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious Loved this book...it's quirky, fun, full of interesting characters and outrageous situations. I'll admit, it's probably not for everyone, but I enjoyed every page.
Date published: 2008-01-28
Rated out of 5 by from Everything was remembered, nothing was lost: a re-review of Zadie Smith's White Teeth This is a re-write of my previous review of this book, which suffered from inexperience and berevity (and three typos). Smith's work deserved better... so here it is again, bolstered. This is really great reading. It is long, it will take time to go through it all. Your interest will intensify and dimish. That's what Smith is trying to do. She creates a range of moods and interests for the reader. For the most part, her narrative twists and turns in the most amiable way. The characters are carefully crafted and alive with sweat, laughter and tears. Smith provides the details and creates the world; and, she’s ingeniously funny. In some ways the novel reads like a chronicled daydream. It saunters back and forth between characters, places, times, events, and issues; serious, yet playful. The characters are not perfect, most of them aren’t even that likeable but you'll identify with them nonetheless. What I really enjoyed about this engaging novel is its depth and complexity. It deals with people living in a "new world." Either a foreign world of ideas and customs or a changing world in which one cannot keep up. The implications of this disorientation or sinking feeling are brought to a head in a climax that is... you just have to read it! * * * “Getting anything out of my husband is like trying to squeeze water out when you’re stoned” (78). “I don’t know what you are selling – pleas God let it not be encyclopedias – at my age it is not more information one requires but less” (170). “‘Now, will someone,’ said Alsana, looking at Clara, please remind my husband that he is not Mr Manilow and he does not have the songs that make the whole world sing’” (228).
Date published: 2008-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I still can't believe this was her very first novel... I had to read this 500-page novel for a 200-level english class, during midterm week. While that should be enough reasons right there for me to hate it, I actually really loved it. It had one of those Borat feels; a bit like, "Omg, is she ALLOWED to say that????". Then there's the fact that I was practically laughing for the entire reading.... that's always a bonus. Anyway, highly recommended.
Date published: 2007-11-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst Book Ever! This book is bad. I cannot figure out why there are such rave reviews about it. The characters are annoying, the plot makes no sense in the end and you will feel as if you wasted your time reading it.
Date published: 2007-11-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from White Teeth Zadie Smith is such a phenomenal writer at such a young age. Do not be intimimdated by the length of this book - you will fly through it pretty fast and be engaged in every moment of each character's experience. The BBC did a pretty great special on this book as well...
Date published: 2006-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing debut! This book does not feel like a first novel! It's extremely well-written, the characters are believable and well developed, and the story meanders in a lovely way.
Date published: 2006-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant A rare contemporary talent. Hilarious, wise and insightful. Perfect.
Date published: 2006-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Smith's wit is outstanding. this book made me chuckle and laugh out loud like no other book has. you won't be able to put this book down. she cleverly weaves in issues of colonialism, cultural purity, diaspora, hybridity, feminism, etc...all with a great sense of humor. the book does a great job of sucking the reader in and feeling invovled in the storyline.
Date published: 2006-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from AWESOME! never to be put down I had to read this book for an english project and I thought it would be boring but when I started reading it, I could not put it down. It was pretty addicting. Zadie Snith is a talented writer especially because she wrote about 3 different types of family/generations/ and religions. It was a very good book. I RECOMEND IT TO EVERYONE OF YOU!
Date published: 2005-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Masterpiece An amazing story about three different generations, and three different races. A very humorous story, written by the rare talent, Zadie Smith. A book that you will never want to put down!
Date published: 2002-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceeded all my expectations... It's no wonder Zadie Smith won an award for this book; it's great! How she managed to mix all of those storylines together... and write from the viewpoints of different cultures...
Date published: 2001-11-27

– More About This Product –

White Teeth

by Zadie Smith

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 7.75 × 5.05 × 1.46 in

Published: February 6, 2001

Publisher: Penguin Uk

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0140276335

ISBN - 13: 9780140276336

About the Book

At the center of this invigorating and hilarious novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, hapless veterans of World War II. Set against London's racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire's past as it barrels toward the future, "White Teeth" is an international bestseller now available in paperback.

Read from the Book

The Peculiar Second Marriage of Archie JonesEarly in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway. At 06.27 hours on 1 January 1975, Alfred Archibald Jones was dressed in corduroy and sat in a fume-filled Cavalier Musketeer Estate face down on the steering wheel, hoping the judgement would not be too heavy upon him. He lay forward in a prostrate cross, jaw slack, arms splayed either side like some fallen angel; scrunched up in each fist he held his army service medals (left) and his marriage license (right), for he had decided to take his mistakes with him. A little green light flashed in his eye, signaling a right turn he had resolved never to make. He was resigned to it. He was prepared for it. He had flipped a coin and stood staunchly by its conclusions. This was a decided-upon suicide. In fact it was a New Year's resolution. But even as his breathing became spasmodic and his lights dimmed, Archie was aware that Cricklewood Broadway would seem a strange choice. Strange to the first person to notice his slumped figure through the windscreen, strange to the policemen who would file the report, to the local journalist called upon to write fifty words, to the next of kin who would read them. Squeezed between an almighty concrete cinema complex at one end and a giant intersection at the other, Cricklewood was no kind of place. It was not a place a man came to die. It was a place a man came in order to go other places via the A41. But Archie Jones didn't want to die in
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From the Publisher

Zadie Smith's White Teeth is a classic international bestseller and an unforgettable portrait of London One of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book. 'Funny, clever ... and a rollicking good read' Independent 'An astonishingly assured début, funny and serious ... I was delighted' Salman Rushdie 'The almost preposterous talent was clear from the first pages' Julian Barnes, Guardian 'Quirky, sassy and wise ... a big, splashy, populous production reminiscent of books by Dickens and Salman Rushdie ... demonstrates both an instinctive storytelling talent and a fully fashioned voice that's street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time' New York Times 'Smith writes like an old hand, and, sometimes, like a dream' New Yorker 'Outstanding ... A strikingly clever and funny book with a passion for ideas, for language and for the rich tragic-comedy of life' Sunday Telegraph 'Do believe the hype' The Times 'Relentlessly funny ... idiosyncratic, and deeply felt' Guardian Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. Her debut novel, White Teeth, won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and the Commonwealth Writers' First Book Prize, and was included in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Her second novel, On Beauty, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has written two further novels, The Autograph Man and NW, a collection of essays, Changing My Mind, and also edited a short-story anthology, The Book of Other People.

About the Author

Zadie Smith was born in North West London in 1975 and continues to live in the area. She is currently working on a second novel.

From Our Editors

In the vibrant multicultural city of London, three families from different backgrounds find themselves linked in every conceivable way: personally, politically, historically and genetically. In White Teeth, these three families all attempt to come to terms with the rich ethnic diversity that their North London community offers. At the center of the novel is the hapless Archibald Jones who can’t seem to make a decision without flipping a coin. And in his chosen city, this proves to be an unlikely advantage as luck is blind to race. This poignant novel is an excellent examination of tolerance and changing attitudes driven by rich characters, taught writing and a bustling city.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for White Teeth"Zadie Smith's fizzing first novel is about how we all got here—from the Caribbean, from the Indian subcontinent, from thirteenth 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"A writer of mighty potential." —The Times Literary Supplement "Poised and relentlessly funny. . . . A major new talent." —The Guardian"Outstanding... refreshingly upbeat and deserving of all the attention it is getting." —The Evening Standard"Outstanding... not only great fun to read, but full of hope." —The Sunday Telegraph "The biggest literary talent for 2000... One of the most impressive firstnovels of recent years." —The Observer Magazine"Funny, clever... and a rollicking good read." —The Independent"Brilliantly
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