Saturday, June 24, 2006

60. "White Teeth" ~ Zadie Smith



I expected to dislike this book, based on my preconceived opinion of the author; first, because someone once told me that she sniffed and turned on her heel when approached at a writers' retreat, and second, because I disliked On Beauty.

I love giving people second (third, fourth, etc.) chances.

White Teeth is about the Smith and Iqbal families, centered around two unlikely friends, Archie Smith and Samad Iqbal. "Epic in scale," (I'm becoming cliche) this book is not just about these characters, but their extended family, circle of friends, even memories from the womb.

The first 250 pages seem plotless. I didn't notice. So entranced by these odd situations and hilarious characterizations, I would have followed Smith through fire and brimstone.

Later, the book takes on terrorism and race, very fascinating, considering it was published in 2000 before the 9/11 literary echo.

Between the scope, the hysterical descriptions, and wicked sharp wit, I was reminded of Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex. Brilliant work by Ms. Smith. I may need to reread her recent work.

4.75 out of 5.0 London Cocktails.

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