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White Teeth

A Novel
Written by: Zadie Smith
Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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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

What the critics say

"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)

What listeners say about White Teeth

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All about the accents!

Especially the first two performers! The Jamaican accent for Clara, the Bangladeshi accent for Samad really added to the experience. It brought the characters to life in a way that wouldn’t have been possible were I reading it myself. I’d look for books by these performers again.

1 person found this helpful

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First Zadie Smith I've read. Won't be the last!

Don't know how I've missed such an amazing writer. Can't wait for the next read.

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  • james
  • 2018-06-06

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.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Roxanne
  • 2018-08-08

loved it

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

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  • Cassidita
  • 2018-11-25

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!

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  • Masha
  • 2020-09-17

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.

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  • Tom
  • 2020-07-15

Why did I wait so long to read this?

A fine listen. A meticulously crafted story. Enjoyed it thoroughly. A look into an improbable yet real slice of modern British life.

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  • washoearc@msn.com
  • 2020-06-09

Well done Zadie Smith!

What an ending! I am in awe of your ability to weave this fantastic story. Hooked from beginning to end with both the storyline and the writing. So good!

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  • Lanita
  • 2020-02-10

Engaging characters, bad story.

I really enjoyed the colorful and complex characters Smith created BUT as much as I liked them I abandoned the book when it got too wrapped up in the protests about the mouse and the surrounding stupidity. The first two thirds were quite enjoyable though. I'd love a sequel involving whichever of these characters made it out alive.

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  • Jennifer L Berezan
  • 2020-01-04

PURE GENIUS! An absolutely remarkable book. Complex, funny, brilliantly conceived and written. Hard to believe Zadie Smith wrote

PURE GENIUS! An absolutely remarkable book. Complex, funny, brilliantly conceived and written. Hard to believe Zadie Smith wrote this in her 20s.

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  • Lisa Ann Robertson
  • 2019-12-20

Amazing

So much humor, humanity, and depth. I think everyone needs to read this book about life for immigrants and their first generation kids in the UK.

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  • Deana Manassaram
  • 2019-12-13

Great all around.

Ending was a bit abrupt. A few details could have been edited out to make room for a more substantive ending. I’m a Jamaican immigrant so appreciate the narrators efforts with the dialect.