White Teeth

Smith, Zadie

  9 Reviews

A comic epic that tells of three families: one Indian, one white, one mixed, in North London and Oxford, from World War II to the present day. Captures the angst of life in an alien culture. Whitbread Best First Novel, 2000. [Big read}

This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club. View this title on the Narrative Muse website

Comments from Groups

All members were overwhelmed at first by the size of the book, and initially suspicious of its style. Then the richness of the language used, linkage of cameos and characters became addictive. "It was a book of its time", was the general positive consensus. Palmerston North 008

This book provoked much discussion. Some of us loved it and others not at all, so perhaps the most controversial book we have had all year. Hokianga 001

A well written and interesting story, with well developed characters. Enjoyed by all, but we found the ending slightly disappointing though. Winton 002

Our group was split in its opinion about this book. Several gave it 8/10, and others would not even give it a 5. It is quite a long book, therefore some did not finish it. The language, although appropriate to the setting and the characters, did put some people off. For those of us who loved it, it was very well written and very humorous, with such vividly drawn characters. The novel was very satirical, which did make sense of the almost caricature like characters. The notes were good and we had an excellent discussion. Christchurch 001

Not everyone completed the book, but those who did were impressed by the writing and the scope of it. They found it to be perceptive, clever and funny. Culverden 001

'White Teeth' is a somewhat long and very detailed work, which requires application and some input of energy by the reader. Some of the group failed to finish it, and could not appreciate the humour inherent in the whole book, or the nitty-gritty depiction of the human condition in all its racial variety! Those who did apply themselves were rewarded, and amazed at the breadth and knowledge of humanity so cleverly portrayed by so young an author. Whitby 002



Really enjoyed first few chapters then we got bogged down! Great insight into the mix of cultures in North London, and the way in which characters struggle to live their lives in a world where thy are losing their traditions and religion. A complex story - amazed to find the author was only 25!
An amazing 1st novel. A wealth of ideas for discussion.
AUCK 147
In general, the group enjoyed the book, but believed better editing would have reduced the number of pages.
We found this book entertaining and absolutely fascinating in its use of words which were re-interpreted ( rather than misinterpreted) and we found ourselves looking again at some of the quotations which suddenly meant something to the characters in the book - and to we readers as well.
CHCH 078
We had a good discussion. About half really liked the book, and half did not like it at all. Agreed a clever writer.
AUCK 157
Most people found it a bit hard to finish. Parts were really funny and interesting, but then other parts seemed to drag.
This book generated good discussion - several members had been in London during the 60s-70s, and felt the novel captured the time.
Very mixed reactions - some people felt book had moments of brilliance but not enough to sustain the novel; others loved the characters and the climax of the book.
CHCH 396
This book created a really good meeting. Much discussion. Most of us rated it highly.