Published in the first month of the first year of the new century, Zadie Smith's debut novel "White Teeth" - winner of the Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel Award - was an immediate bestseller and stunningly acclaimed. One of the most talked about fictional debuts of ever, "White Teeth" is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel ...Read MorePublished in the first month of the first year of the new century, Zadie Smith's debut novel "White Teeth" - winner of the Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel Award - was an immediate bestseller and stunningly acclaimed. One of the most talked about fictional debuts of ever, "White Teeth" is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, 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. "Funny, clever ...and a rollicking good read". ("Independent"). 'An astonishingly assured debut, funny and serious...I was delighted". (Salman Rushdie). "The almost preposterous talent was clear from the first pages". (Julian Barnes, ("Guardian"). "Quirky, sassy and wise ...a big, splashy, populous production reminiscent of books by Dickens and Salman Rushdie ...demonstrates both an instinctive storytelling talent and a fully fashioned voice that's street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time". ("New York Times"). "Smith writes like an old hand, and, sometimes, like a dream". ("New Yorker"). "Outstanding...A strikingly clever and funny book with a passion for ideas, for language and for the rich tragic-comedy of life". ("Sunday Telegraph"). "Do believe the hype". ("The Times"). "Relentlessly funny ...idiosyncratic, and deeply felt". ("Guardian"). Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. Her debut novel, "White Teeth", won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and the Commonwealth Writers' First Book Prize, and was included in "Time" 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Her second novel, "On Beauty", was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has written two further novels, "The Autograph Man" and "NW", a collection of essays "Changing My Mind", and also edited short story anthology "The Book of Other People" Zadie Smith was chosen by "Granta" as one of its twenty best young British novelists in 2003, and as well as to "Granta" has contributed writing to the "New Yorker" and the "Guardian". Zadie Smith's new novel, "NW", is available from September 2012.Read Less
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I hated this book, and so did my Writers Reading Fiction classmates and professor. We couldn't even get through the whole thing due to boredom. I hear that many praise Zadie Smith for her first novel, but I am not one of those fans!
Mar 19, 2007
The Voice of 'Our Voice'
In July 2006, Time magazine asked, "Who is th voice of this generation?" and conceited that Zadie Smith would likely be "the consensus number one seed." For the first time in a long time, I find myself NOT rooting for the underdog.
Having picked up Smith's debut, "White Teeth," for no reason other than her reputation, I found it to be a radiant example of all that literature could aspire to. Its 448 pages paint so many vivid character portraits, I found myself wondering several times in reading it, who exactly the book was about. By its conclusion, however, the answer was quite clear: it is a book at once about each of us and all of us.
A story of several generations of three different families hailing from very different pasts and coursing along a tangled web of intersected presents and futures, Smith eloquently chronicles their trials of being slaves to the many masters our society demands. Cultural, political, personal, familial, national, sexual, intellectual, spirtual... it's hard to think of one she failed to address. What the book is most about, though, is the absurdly inevidable conflicts that arise from each of us serving each of them in the way we each feel is most appropriate.
Whether or not she is truly the number one seed, I will fanatically root for Zadie Smith to long be known and remembered as The Voice of this Generation, and hope we share a wisdom such that that voice be heard.
----- Easily the best book I've read in a long while.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-03-13 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.
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