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A few things this book had me thinking about. My only real problem with this read was the length of the meandering narratives. View all 21 comments. A perfect book to re-read!

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This is a very funny book chronicling the lives of immigrants in the United Kingdom and focuses on issues such as children of immigrants forming new, collective identities due to identity crisis, the whole question about who is really English and problems in a multicultural community, such as which religious holidays schools should celebrate and so on. It's a very entertaining read.

White Teeth: A Novel

View 2 comments. Dec 17, Peter Boyle rated it really liked it. Wow, what a lot to take in! I won't even attempt to summarise this sprawling, densely-plotted novel - suffice to say that it traces the history of two multicultural London families at the tail end of the 20th century. Along the way themes such as race relations, religious extremism, immigration, and even the ethics of genetic engineering are explored, all with an intoxicating energy and a sparkling sense of humour.

The aspect of the book I admired most was its focus on family. Both the Iqbal and Wow, what a lot to take in! Both the Iqbal and Jones clans are dysfunctional in their own way - obstacles such as marital infidelity and fundamentalism serve to threaten the family unit.

White Teeth - Wikipedia

Continents may divide them, conflicting ideologies might drive them apart but there is a familial bond that will never break and an unconditional love for one another that will always exist even though they may be slow to admit this at times. The story is dizzying in scope and though are numerous plot threads to tie up, it all comes together in an immensely satisfying finale.

It blows my mind that Zadie Smith had written White Teeth by the age of Little wonder that she took the literary world by storm. Aug 03, Alias Pending rated it did not like it Shelves: last-word-book-club. The Short: The only thing this book hates more than its characters is you, the reader. The long form presentation: Lets boil down the premise and get it out of the way. This book is about nature vs nurture. Don't worry about that theme too much, because this book hates its theme. It can't be bothered to come to a logical or even an irrational conclusion about that theme.

It hates its theme nearly as much as it hates you, the reader. Didn't I just say that? Am I being redundant? Right, there is to The Short: The only thing this book hates more than its characters is you, the reader. Right, there is too much, let me sum up. Basic Storytelling annoyances: It would have been nice if the author could have picked less than 10 main characters to focus on. Or, would have stopped introducing characters long before the second to last chapter. Tangential annoyance: This late group of card-board cut out characters is created to mock pretentious college student types oh, the inadvertent irony , but is a complete regurgitation of Monty Python's "what have the Romans ever done for us?

Just a general Boo out to that. Or, if the characters were anything but stereotypical one dimensional shadow puppets with two modes: Shouty and Really Shouty.

The Narrator attempts to convince the reader the hated reader that racial stereotypes shouting at each other is funny. The Narrator will put a "Funny Here Marker" in her dialogue to underline what is supposed to be funny. The FHM is easy to spot; it is a F-bomb if its really funny or an "assing" or "bastard" if it is supposedly mildly amusing. Truth be told, in the or so pages, I may have accidentally chuckled at some bits, but it is really too painful to remember now. Intermediate storytelling annoyances: Don't continue a scene when the Point of View Character has left that scene.

Abrupt use of flashback and flash-forward highlights the thin, uncertain texture of your narrative. Never be afraid to use one word, whereas three will annoy your readers the hated readers. Plot, generally nice to have. Drama is not shouty, mean people being mean and shouty to each other. Dear Cthulhu! Please stop the expositioning.

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White Teeth

Being told the the backstory of every random character who pops in to be belittled and mocked is both unwanted and unwise. Advanced Annoyances: Stop being redundant. Redundancy, stop. The redundant things, they are being, they must stop.

White Teeth: A Novel (Unabridged)

Everything is said at least three times in the book. Three times. Some things are said six or more times. Thrip x If the Narrator says Very something, it will be said at least twice. It is infuriating.


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And it is not just words. Whole scenes are redundant and are put in just to drive the reader the hated reader - ok you get it, I'll stop insane. Extreme Annoyances: A third of the way into this book, just when the barrage of unfunny sitcom scenarios has numbed the reader into submission, the Narrator starts throwing in little clues, hints, that the Narrator knows exactly what it is doing.

And She is not just mocking the poor characters, but you, the reader. Little bits about "Corkscrew dialogue" and "redundant writing" shows up. What is Corkscrew dialogue?

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Google doesn't know. The only thing I can think of is this - this book is corkscrew dialogue. It goes around and around, seemingly going deep beneath the surface, but not really moving at all. And the cork - that sucker broke off. No wine for you. Shaking that paranoia off, I continue.


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At the end of the day, this 'story' is just a bunch of shallow characters shouting religious catchphrases at each other. Can't say fairer than that. Jan 03, Ted rated it it was amazing Shelves: lit-british , re-read , have. More now than fifteen years ago, when I read this, I thought it was the best contemporary fiction I'd read in ages. Even though I don't remember a whole lot of the story, I'm still in accord with that memory.

It's one of the contemporary novels that I can see myself reading again in the future, or at least sampling. View all 6 comments. Nov 04, Britany rated it it was ok Shelves: bookriot , I started this book back in September and finishing it in November. Granted I did take a 17 day vacation and set this one aside during that break, but this was a huge struggle for me to get through.

This is a character study, with religious themes and historical references. Two men, who find themselves alone during the war become best friends-- Archibald Jones and Samad Iqbal.