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White Teeth
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About the Author

Zadie Smith was born in Northwest London in 1975 and still lives in the area. She is the author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, Changing My Mind, NW, and most recently Swing Time.

Reviews

The scrambled, heterogeneous sprawl of mixed-race and immigrant family life in gritty London nearly overflows the bounds of this stunning, polymathic debut novel by 23-year-old British writer Smith. Traversing a broad swath of cultural territory with a perfect ear for the nuances of identity and social class, Smith harnesses provocative themes of science, technology, history and religion to her narrative. Hapless Archibald Jones fights alongside Bengali Muslim Samad Iqbal in the English army during WWII, and the two develop an unlikely bond that intensifies when Samad relocates to Archie's native London. Smith traces the trajectory of their friendship through marriage, parenthood and the shared disappointments of poverty and deflated dreams, widening the scope of her novel to include a cast of vibrant characters: Archie's beautiful Jamaican bride, Clara; Archie and Clara's introspective daughter, Irie; Samad's embittered wife, Alsana; and Alsana and Samad's twin sons, Millat and Magid. Torn between the pressures of his new country and the old religious traditions of his homeland, Samad sends Magid back to Bangladesh while keeping Millat in England. But Millat falls into delinquency and then religious extremism, as earnest Magid becomes an Anglophile with an interest in genetic engineering, a science that Samad and Millat repudiate. Smith contrasts Samad's faith in providence with Magid's desire to seize control of the future, involving all of her characters in a debate concerning past and present, determinism and accident. The tooth--half root, half protrusion--makes a perfect trope for the two families at the center of the narrative. A remarkable examination of the immigrant's experience in a postcolonial world, Smith's novel recalls the hyper-contemporary yet history-infused work of Rushdie, sharp-edged, fluorescent and many-faceted. Agent, Georgia Garrett. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

A celebrated British debut concerning the intertwined families of working-class Archie and his best buddy, a Muslim Bengali. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"A preternaturally gifted new writer [with] a voice that's street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time."-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Brilliant.... Smith is a master at detail...a postmodern Charles Dickens...[Smith's] rich storytelling and wicked wit are suited to the sights and smells of the world that England has inherited."-The Washington Post

"[A] vibrant, rollicking first novel about race and idenity...[Smith's] prickly wit is affectionate and poignant."-People "[A] dazzling intergenerational first novel...wonderfully inventive...playful yet unaffected, mongrel yet cohesive, profound yet funny, vernacular yet lyrical. "-Los Angeles Times "[A] marvel of a debut novel. . .Reminscent 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, jampacked 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 "Wonderful.... Zadie Smith...possesses a more than ordinary share of talent."-USA Today "Smith has an astonishing intellect. She writes sharp dialogue for every age and race-- and she's funny as hell."-Newsweek

"[White Teeth]
is, like the London it portrays, a restless hybrid of voices, tones, and textures...with a raucous energy and confidence."-The New York Times Book Review

"Fresh...spirited...this extravagant novel bursts with optimism about people, about language, and perhaps, above all, about novels and the joy, indeed the impertinence, of writing one."-The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Blissfully confident, wide-ranging and funny from the get-go, White Teeth...promises-and delivers-a wildly inventive journey into a fresh imagination."-Rocky Mountain News

"Brilliant.... Smith is a master at detail.... Like a postmodern Dickens, she has a flair for features, dress, dialogue, accents and human frailty."-The Miami Herald

"It's a treat to watch an immensely gifted young writer performing, for the very first time, such an admirably audacious and ambitious juggling act."-Elle

"Absolutely delicious.... Smith's voice is a perfect balance of tragedy and comedy."-The Tampa Tribune and Times "Gently observant and generous in its judgments.... Filled with vibrant life."-The San Diego Union--Tribune

"Brilliant.... Bubbles and pops in its imaginative intensity."-The Baltimore Sun

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