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White Teeth: A Novelby Zadie Smith
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Clearly, Smith does not lack for powers of invention. The problem is that there is too much of it....At her best, she approaches her characters and makes them human; she is much more interested in this, and more naturally gifted at it, than is Rushdie. For a start, her minor Dickensian caricatures and grotesques, the petty filaments of this book, often glow....[H]er book lacks moral seriousness. But her details are often instantly convincing, both funny and moving. They justify themselves." James Woods, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
"[A] vibrant, rollicking first novel about race and idenity....[Smith's] prickly wit is affectionate and poignant." People
"[A] marvel of a debut novel....Reminiscent of both Salman Rushdie and John Irving, White Teeth is a comic, canny, sprawling tale, adeptly held together by Smith's literary sleight of hand." Entertainment Weekly
"A magnificent and audacious novel, jam-packed with memorable characters and challenging ideas." The Atlanta Journal & Constitution
"Ambitious, earnest and irreverent....Smith has a real talent for comedy and a fond eye for human foibles." The Wall Street Journal
"Smith has an astonishing intellect. She writes sharp dialogue for every age and race — and she's funny as hell." Newsweek
"Gently observant and generous in its judgments. Filled with vibrant life." The San Diego Union Tribune
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.
Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families--the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire--as they make their way in modern England. A first novel. Reprint. 200,000 first printing.
About the Author
Zadie Smith was born in northwest London in 1975. The Autograph Man is her second novel. Her first, White Teeth, was the winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, and the Commonweatlh Writers First Book Prize. She is currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments — Archie 1974, 1945 — 1: Peculiar second marriage of Archie Jones — 2: Teething trouble — 3: Two families — 4: Three coming — 5: Root canals of Alfred Archibald Jones and Samad Miah Iqbal — Samad 1984, 1857 — 6: Temptation of Samad Iqbal — 7: Molars — 8: Mitosis — 9: Mutiny! — 10: Root canals of Mangal Pande — Irie 1990, 1907 — 11: Mis education of Irie Jones — 12: Canines: the ripping teeth — 13: Root canals of Hortense Bowden — 14: More English than the English — 15: Chalfenism versus Bowdenism — Magid, Millat, And Marcus 1992, 1999 — 16: Return of Magid Mahfooz Murshed Mubtasim Iqbal — 17: Crisis talks and eleventh-hour tactics — 18: End of history versus the last man — 19: Final space — 20: Of mice and memory.
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