By (author) Zadie Smith
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White Teeth by Zadie Smith
She is ... a George Eliot of multi-culturalism Daily Telegraph The first publishing sensation of the millennium Observer White Teeth reflects a new generation Guardian [Zadie Smith] is one of the prominent voices of her generation Sunday TimesISBN: 9780140276336
Classification: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Format: Paperback (197mm x 133mm x 35mm)
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 25-Jan-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Comment on White Teeth by Zadie Smith
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UK Kirkus Review » In the last two decades, what this novel describes as the 'great ocean-crossing experiment' has added a whopping dose of fertiliser to British literature, enabling it to flower as never before. And now, with Smith's impressive debut, there are signs of fresh growth. Smith's disillusioned men, frustrated women and torn teenagers are 'midnight's grandchildren', for whom cultural meltdown, segregation and reinvention are recurring themes. Her narrative charts the tragi-comic progress of Samad Iqbal and Archie Jones from World War II to 1990s London. It's here, amid the caffs and tikka restaurants of Willesden that both men settle and found families - Archie with the Afro-Carribean Clara, and Samad with Alsana, from his native Bengal. And it is here that their assorted offspring do battle with the expectations and hypocrisies of their elders and the seductive lure of fundamentalism. Smith's habit of switching protagonists almost in mid-stream gives the book a directionless feel, but what the novel lacks in narrative drive it makes up for in humour, verve and stylistic playfulness. And while Smith's intelligent, feisty prose style bears more than a passing resemblance to Salman Rushdie's, the territory she lays claim to is her own. A writer to watch. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » An impressively witty satirical first novel, London-set, chronicling the experiences of two eccentric multiracial families during the last half of the 20th century. When Archie Joness suicide attempt on New Years Day 1975 is stymied by a finicky butcher (who frowns upon such things taking place in a car parked illegally in front of his establishment, especially when hes awaiting an early morning delivery), his life is changed forever. Lamenting the break up of his marriage, the distraught and disoriented Archiea middle-aged Brit who fancies himself in the direct-mail business but actually spends his life folding papersthen wanders into an end-of-the-world party where he meets his next wife. Jamaican Clara Bowden is 19 to Archies 47, at six feet tall she towers over him, and shes missing all her upper teeth, the result of a motorcycle mishap. Nonetheless, six weeks later the mismatched pair are married and living near Archies WWII buddy Samad Iqbal, a Bengali Muslim. And so begins Smiths frenetic, riotous, unruly tale, which hops, skips, and jumps from one end of the century to the other while following the Jones and Iqbal broods. Archie and Clara have a daughter, Irie, whose name translates into ``no problem' (although she has plenty of them); Samad, who is head waiter at an Indian restaurant, has twin sons, Millat and Magid. When theyre nine, their father separates the boys, sending Magid back to Bangladesh to be raised the old-fashioned way, far from the corruption of postwar London, filled with its mods and rockers and hippies and Englishmen and other bad influencesincluding Samad himself, who has been lusting after his twins schoolteacher. There isnt much of a plot here, the book being swept along by a series of sometimes hilarious, oft-times clever, occasionally tedious riffs on everything from race relations through eugenics and on to religion, but 25-year-old Smith is a marvelously talented writer with a wonderful ear for dialogue. (Kirkus Reviews)
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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.
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