The questions and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's discussion of Zadie Smith's White Teeth, a funny, generous, big-hearted novel dealing--among many other things--with friendship, love, war, three cultures, three families over three generations, 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.
by James Woods, The New Republic,
"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." (read the entire New Republic review)
"[A] vibrant, rollicking first novel about race and idenity....[Smith's] prickly wit is affectionate and poignant."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"[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."
by The Atlanta Journal & Constitution,
"A magnificent and audacious novel, jam-packed with memorable characters and challenging ideas."
by The Wall Street Journal,
"Ambitious, earnest and irreverent....Smith has a real talent for comedy and a fond eye for human foibles."
"Smith has an astonishing intellect. She writes sharp dialogue for every age and race — and she's funny as hell."
by The San Diego Union Tribune,
"Gently observant and generous in its judgments. Filled with vibrant life."
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.
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