White Teeth

by Zadie Smith | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 0140297782 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Kislany on 1/14/2006
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Kislany on Saturday, January 14, 2006
'White Teeth' is a comic epic of multicultural Britain which tells the story of immigrants in England over a period of 40 years.

Reserved for Evablue for a trade

Journal Entry 2 by evablue from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Monday, May 22, 2006
Book arrived today. Many thanks. Will start on it soon.

Journal Entry 3 by evablue from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Wednesday, June 28, 2006
When I first got “White teeth” I thought it was a book about being an immigrant in England, a stranger in a strange land. I soon found out this wasn’t the author’s intention – better yet, it wasn’t her only intention. White Teeth involves a cast of characters from different ethnic groups and various backgrounds and stirs topics such as race, colonialism, class, gender, culture, religion, sexuality, history, genetic engineering, science ethics, growing up and examination of identity, just to name a few. Quite an ambitious scope for a single book. The author manages to scratch the surface of some of those topics, none of which fully develop, and sometimes looks as if she loses interest in them.

The book revolves around Archie and Samad, an Englishman and a Bangladeshi respectively, who are in the same tank unit in World War II. The circumstances they experience bond them for life. So when Samad decides to look for a better life in England he finds his old friend and resumes the relationship. Archie and Samad are portrayed as a comic duet – like Laurel and Hardy or Vladimir and Estragon. Archie is a level headed working class man who leads his life at random, making his decisions at the flip of a coin and sticking to them; rather the Stan Laurel type, naïve and simple in his needs. Samad on the other hand is an intellectual – a University graduate who speaks “the Queens English” better than the English do, knows (or adapts to his needs) his history, aspires for a better life but gets stuck in a dead end job as a waiter. He has one foot in the old country and one foot in the new, feels guilty for not preserving his heritage, for being absorbed by the current state and keeps wondering what his life would be like had he remained in the old country. While life is complicated for Samad, it’s even worse for his identical twin sons, Magid and Millat and Archie’s half-caste daughter Irie. As if growing up weren’t hard enough, they find themselves entangled in their parents’ scruples and struggle for identity. To my opinion, the part about Irie’s hope to find a place where she’d belong is the one that rings truest in the book. However, the approach is somewhat superficial as well – we don’t find out what she really thinks and what feelings trigger her actions. There’s also lots of colourful minor characters who do not really enhance the main plot. Smith is trying to weave them all into a complicated web but she is no Marquez and has to succumb to a “deus ex machina” ending that solves nothing at all.

So, is there anything good about the book? Yes. The dialogue! Each of her characters has a unique voice. The verve of her language keeps the reader going right to the end. A few original punch lines that had me laughing out loud. And a good account of life in multi-cultural Britain.
To sum it up, I think it's a fun read that can get you to start thinking about some of the topics introduced (but not quite revealed).

Journal Entry 4 by evablue at Snellville, Georgia USA on Friday, July 03, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (7/3/2009 UTC) at Snellville, Georgia USA

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Mailed to Shroffland, since it was her choice from the Intercultural Virtual Book box. This is a truly intercultural book. Hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 5 by wingShrofflandwing from Snellville, Georgia USA on Thursday, July 09, 2009
This is a selection from the Intercultural Virtual Book Box, hosted by ApoloniaX and contraforsa. It has travelled all the way from Athens, Greece to Atlanta, GA, USA!

Thank you, EvaBlue for sending it! This book's travels reflects its Intercultural theme.

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