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White Teeth (2000)

von Zadie Smith

Weitere Autoren: Siehe Abschnitt Weitere Autoren.

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen / Diskussionen
13,646248432 (3.74)2 / 726
On New Year's morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Cavalier Musketeer station wagon. Archie--working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt--is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie's car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel. Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families--the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire--as they make their way in modern England.… (mehr)
  1. 61
    Eine englische Art von Glück von Andrea Levy (CVBell)
    CVBell: Like White Teeth, Small Island illuminates the Caribbean immigrant experience in England, and like Zadie Smith, Levy is a major talent.
  2. 62
    Brick Lane. von Monica Ali (Booksloth)
  3. 20
    The Girl Who Fell From the Sky von Heidi W. Durrow (sduff222)
  4. 20
    Apples von Richard Milward (rory1000)
  5. 00
    Die 27ste Stadt von Jonathan Franzen (rjuris)
  6. 11
    Mrs. Alis unpassende Leidenschaft: Roman von Helen Simonson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Readers will enjoy White Teeth and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand for their character development and humor, along with lighthearted treatment of serious topics such as race relations, religious fanaticism, self-understanding, and similar aspects of modern English life.… (mehr)
  7. 00
    Der Boden unter ihren Füßen von Salman Rushdie (ateolf)
  8. 12
    A Cupboard Full of Coats von Yvvette Edwards (vimandvigor)
    vimandvigor: multi-ethnic cast of characters; set in London; literary writing style.
  9. 01
    Hundert Jahre Einsamkeit von Gabriel Garcia Marquez (renardkitsune)
1990s (156)
hopes (29)
To Read (163)
AP Lit (320)
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» Siehe auch 726 Erwähnungen/Diskussionen

Well-written.. which got me to p.186 ... but I just couldn't care about any of it. ( )
  Dorothy2012 | Apr 22, 2024 |
This is the first novel that made Zadie Smith an instant hit. Well, it's taken a while for me to catch up, but I'm glad I did.
The opening chapters of the book are just so stunning creative and enjoyable, that I felt like going back and re-reading them multiple times.
It would be hard for any author to maintain that intensity, and Zadie is no different. The book settles down into a tale of people in the UK, many with a migrant and/or mixed race element. Very readable, but not perfect. But amazingly good for such a young writer.
I'll be back to read more of Ms Smith. ( )
  mbmackay | Mar 18, 2024 |
11. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
readers: Lenny Henry, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Ray Panthaki & Arya Sagar
OPD: 2000
format: 18:38 audible audiobook (448-pages in paperback)
acquired: February 1 listened: Feb 1-26
rating: 5
genre/style: Novel theme: random audio
locations: London 1975 to 1992
about the author: An English novelist, essayist, and short-story writer. She was born in 1975 in Willesden, northwest London, to a Jamaican mother and an English father who was 30 years his wife's senior.

I read Zadie Smith's [On Beauty] in 2005, the year it was published. (Before LT existed) It was good, and it gave me a sense of what was popular then in literary circles. But it was, in a way, just another novel. Nothing was calling me back to read more Zadie Smith. So, although I've known about [White Teeth] a while, I haven't pursued it.

I did not expect this. Terry Pratchett comes to mind, or maybe Six Feet Under. This is charming humor. It's not about the humor, the events aren't exactly funny, but it's pervaded by a humor. It was just always entertaining.

The humor is cultural, largely around ethnic and social misunderstandings. The main characters are two World War II buddies, one English, Archibald Jones, and one Bengali, Samad Iqbal, both married women decades younger them. Archie is married to a Jamaican woman with no front teeth, Samad to a Bengali woman through a marriage that was arranged before she was born. They each have children, Samad twin boys who he tries to keep Muslim growing up in suburban London.

As these children grow up, Smith explores how these men and their wives evolve in their unhappy marriages. Archie's Jamaican wife is largely silent and both leaving their daughter to figure things out on her own. Samad tries to physically control his wife, but she's much younger and healthier and they end up wrestling to painful draws, their twin boys sitting by and watching them and awaiting the compromised outcome. When she is exceptionally upset, she punishes Samad by refusing to confirm anything he asks. She never says "yes" or "no", but only variations of maybe. Samad, further, is a lax but dedicated Muslim lost in London, unwilling or unable to go home to Bengal. Both men remain disconnected from their children, but Samad will fret what his children become, and will occasionally do crazy things to try to make them into blend into his ideal Bengali traditions that he doesn't follow himself.

It's worth noting the Archie's daughter, Irie, is an alternate Zadie. She is also mixed race, with an English father 30 years older than her Jamaican mother. So, Archie's parental failures and Irie's struggles have a deeper cut under the humor.

Well, I don't know that anything of the book's charm comes through there. Smith manages to address serious hot-button cultural issues with a freedom and freshness that is unusual, and insightful; critical but respectful. She gets into serious extreme Muslim strains (on the eve of Sep 11), and also into English-Bengali and English-Jamaican racial issues. It's smart, and expectedly charming, and works wonderfully. And I don't believe Zadie Smith has written anything else like this. It's a one-time thing. For that lightning in bottle, she gets five stars.

Recommended to everyone.

2024
https://www.librarything.com/topic/358760#8449692 ( )
  dchaikin | Mar 2, 2024 |
Hang onto your hats! White Teeth is a roller coaster ride, sure to rid you of your spare change with all of its twists and turns. Within the pages of White Teeth Zadie Smith takes you deep inside the concept of cultural identity through her characters and their dialogue. As an aside, I want to know how Smith conjured up these characters with such perfection. Where did they come from? People like Magid Mahfooz Murshed Mubtasim practically jump off the page, they are so real. I can't give it away, but that final scene with the gun!
White Teeth is like a four-room banquet with endless amounts of food choices. At times I felt overstuffed dealing with all the characters and their various dramas, but I don't discredit Smith's storytelling. She was culturally spot on with little details like the tag for Levi's jeans. What exactly does "shrink to fit" mean anyway? I could see how someone would be confused, especially if English isn't their first language.
All in all, White Teeth was a fun ride, worthy of all the accolades. ( )
1 abstimmen SeriousGrace | Feb 16, 2024 |
Mehh.. a disappointing read. Zadie Smith can definitely write but the characters seemed underdeveloped and flat, despite the novel being 500 pages and full to the brim with content. The writing was the only thing that kept me reading to the end.

2.5 stars ( )
  EllieBhurrut | Jan 24, 2024 |
It follows, for a while, the lives of three poor North London families over several decades of the late 20th Century- the Chalfens, Joneses, and the Iqbals, except that it does not really follow them. There is no coherent thread, just a lot of scenes designed to show us how weird, funny, grotesque, or dull these people of Indian, Jamaican, and Turkish backgrounds are. A few negative reviews have pointed out that Smith, despite her background, has no real grasp of slang- especially that of the Jamaican immigrants the Joneses represent, as she supposedly mixes Jamaican and Rastafarian terms with ease. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but the characters are all stereotypes, and speak in atrocious dialogues, whether or not the patois is correct. To nitpick over the patois when the writing is atrocious is like complaining the rabid dog that bit you also looked flea-bitten.

Conversation is best when it gives the illusion of colloquialism while focusing on the most poetic moments of speech to arrive at illuminating points that a reader can relate to. Conversation, when well used, can be a shortcut o establishing a character's traits and habits, far more easily and quickly than omniscient narration can. Smith has no idea that this is what it can be used for. Instead, she sees it as a way to show hipsterism is alive and well, and she's an initiate of it. The two ostensible leads are Archie Jones- an inveterate liar and Samad Iqbal, a career waiter. They are buddies from World War Two, and the patriarchs of their clans. Archie marries beautiful, but buck-toothed Clara, who hates her Jehovah's Witness mother, thus slipping into an unsavory lifestyle in rebellion. They have a daughter, named Irie. Samad marries a girl named Alsana and has twin boys, Magid and Millat- the former a Fundy Islamist, and the latter a wannabe street thug. Both men are disappointed in life, and an inordinate portion of the book takes place in a dentist's office- hence the title, which also is slang to mean the ideal of a handsome English boy or girl the social climbing foreigners see as ideal mates.

Of course, the children cannot assimilate, and Irie fixates on Millat. Then, nothing much more happens, as the older generations' struggles give way to the younger, including Moslem cultists, genetic experiments on mice, the protests against Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (a cheap way to wrangle a blurb from him- which worked!, as his is the first on the book's blurb page) the Chalfen family, and then the book just ends- as if Smith grew bored with the whole damnable enterprise, and thought she'd just pull the plug. Of course, this end comes only after a hundred and fifty or so pages of a book that seems to want to veer into science fiction before dropping back to failed social satire, and after many other narratives and themes are dropped without reason- admittedly, none were that interesting to begin with, but why start a bad thread if you will not even end it? The book is full of such technical failings, and cannot even qualify as a slice of life tale, in the mold of a lesser A Tree Grows In Brooklyn or the Bridge novels of Evan S. Connell, for it seemingly wants to go somewhere, only to pull back, and just wither.
hinzugefügt von freakslang | bearbeitenHackwriters, Dan Schneider (Apr 1, 2007)
 
hinzugefügt von booksaplenty1949 | bearbeitenThe Guardian, John Mullan (Oct 12, 2002)
 
Was macht nun diesen Roman aus dem multiethnischen Milieu Londons so bedeutend, dass kaum mehr jemand wagt, auch auf die Schwächen hinzuweisen und sein Übermaß an Figuren und vor allem das versöhnliche Ende zu kritisieren? Der Roman ist vielleicht tatsächlich, wie Zadie Smith selbst sagt, das "literarische Äquivalent eines hyperaktiven, zehn Jahre alten, steptanzenden rothaarigen Kindes" und damit in erster Linie außergewöhnlich. Seine Dialoge sind von einer Vitalität, dass man glaubt, man säße auf dem Oberdeck eines dieser roten Busse. Man genießt die scharfsichtige Analyse auch der unbedeutenden Nebensächlichkeiten und folgt den sich oft verlierenden mäandernden Gedanken, weil Zadie Smith mit Worten umzugehen weiß. Selbst dann, wenn sie philosophische Ideen des Daseins auf "Analogien für den Duracell-Hasen" reduziert, sind Witz, Sentimentalität und eine Form des magischen Realismus eben gerade so wohldosiert, dass es keine Haken gibt, die den Lesefluss behindern.
 

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (6 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Smith, ZadieAutorHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Akura, LynnUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Andersson, ErikÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Bayatlı, MefkureÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Bennett-Warner, PippaErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Brinkman, SophieÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Demanuelli, ClaudeTraductionCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Elden, Willem vanMitwirkenderCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Fuente, Ana María de laÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Grimaldi, LauraÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Henry, LennyErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Olender, JeanetteGestaltungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Panthaki, RayErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Riera, ErnestÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Sagar, AryaErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Sjøgren-Erichsen, TorleifOvers.Co-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Timmermann, KlausÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Wasel, UlrikeÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt

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In this wrought-iron world of criss-cross cause and effect, could it be that the hidden throb I stole from them did not affect their future?
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Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway. At 06.27 hours on 1 January 1975, Alfred Archibald Jones was dressed in corduroy and sat in a fume-filled Cavalier Musketeer Estate face down on the steering wheel, hoping the judgment would not be too heavy upon him.
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"Where I come from," said Archie, "a bloke likes to get to know a girl before he marries her."
"Where you come from it is customary to boil vegetables until they fall apart. This does not mean," said Samad tersely, "that it is a good idea."
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On New Year's morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Cavalier Musketeer station wagon. Archie--working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt--is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie's car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel. Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families--the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire--as they make their way in modern England.

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