Chosen by the Guardian as one of the Best Books of the 21st Century
From the MAN BOOKER PRIZE- and WOMEN'S PRIZE-SHORTLISTED author of Swing Time, On Beauty and Grand Union
'BELIEVE THE HYPE' The Times
The international bestseller and modern classic of multicultural Britain - an unforgettable portrait of London
One of the most talked about debut novels of all time, 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.
'The almost preposterous talent was clear from the first pages' Julian Barnes, Guardian
'Street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time' New York Times
'Outstanding' Sunday Telegraph
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
White Teeth has proved one of the 21st century’s most garlanded and influential books. And Zadie Smith’s astonishing debut novel will probably hold sway in a hundred years’ time, too. It’s that rarest of things: a fiercely intelligent, deeply affecting, and wonderfully readable masterpiece which takes in religion, gender, class, activism, immigration and sex. Smith’s ensemble cast paint a dazzling multi-generational portrait of modern Britain that few books have managed to get close to.
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.