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White Teeth  By  cover art

White Teeth

By: Zadie Smith
Narrated by: Lenny Henry,Pippa Bennett-Warner,Ray Panthaki,Arya Sagar
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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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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What listeners say about White Teeth

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

21 people found this helpful

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Censored

This is a fantastic book, first of all. Worthy of all its praise. Ray Panthaki’s narration is heavenly. Imagine my horror when I got about 2 hours in to find a word bleeped out. Ridiculous.

5 people found this helpful

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loved it

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

5 people found this helpful

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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!

2 people found this helpful

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Hysterical Realism at its Finest

Critic James Wood branded this Hysterical Realism, arguing that it replaces organic development with far-fetched coincidences, characterization with social theorizing. True, plot points seem to be tied together too conveniently in places and the end is more of a farcical copout than a dramatic climax. But if, say, Archie and Samad's personalities don't show in the last chapter, they certainly do in countless minor scenes throughout the novel. When some other characters are reduced to archetypes, the commentary they provide on multiculturalism is often interesting enough to compensate this. And the prose never stops being vivid, funny, and immensely readable (or listenable!).

1 person found this helpful

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Unforgettable

This was my first Zadie Smith book. Despite some less than favorable reviews, I was excited to listen to it, and it did not disappointment. I cannot decide if the performance made the story so spectacular, or if Smith’s style is just incredibly engaging. I found the story witty and actually laughed out loud during multiple parts. The story is long, but I didn’t find any parts unnecessary. I cannot imagine how others didn’t enjoy this. I think it’s a moving story of life at the margins told free of the white gaze. It’s an unapologetic social critique, but manages not to come off as a rant.

1 person found this helpful

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Great prose and some amazing narration

Enjoyed this highly entertaining epic of a book about the struggles of immigrant culture in London. Call it a working class Forsythe Saga. Zadie Smith is brilliant here. All narrators are good but Pippa Bennett-Warne really shines. Her sharp and excellent depictions of Jamaican, Indian, cockney and RP accents make you wonder why she didn’t narrate the whole book. When the last narrator delivers a more or less straight read for all the characters I found myself imagining Ms Bennett-Warner’s voice. Still the power of the prose carries it through.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Chapters scrambled. So frustrating.

This audiobook starts in the very middle of the book as it was written. I didn’t realize until I looked at a printed copy of the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Masterpiece

Wise, insightful, hilariously funny and soberingly serious wok of art. And the performance is great. Thank you!

1 person found this helpful