White Teeth

Zadie Smith, Author
Zadie Smith, Author Random House Inc $24.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-375-50185-2
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 978-0-14-188595-7
Hardcover - 978-1-56895-950-4
Paperback - 542 pages - 978-0-241-95457-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-0218-7
Paperback - 63 pages - 978-1-58663-857-3
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4000-7550-8
Paperback - 541 pages - 978-0-14-027633-6
Hardcover - 560 pages - 978-0-14-029778-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-07426-2
Paperback - 464 pages
Prebound-Other - 448 pages - 978-1-4176-2628-1
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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)
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