White Teeth by Zadie Smith

175px-WhiteTeethPublished: 2000

Genre: fiction

Length: 448 pages

Setting: London, 1970s-90s with flashbacks

Interest: It’s one of the Time 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

Summary: We follow the lives of two families that are closely intertwined. One family is Bangladeshi with an arranged marriage and twin boys, Millat and Magid. The father, Samad is worried the boys are growing too Westernized, but only has enough money to send one son back to Bangladesh. The other family is composed of Archie, Clara, and their daughter, Irei. Archie fought in WWII with Samad and he is your stereotypical WASP, which made it a surprise when he marries Clara, a Jamaican Jehovah’s Witness. Irie tries to keep Millat out of trouble, but they all get involved with the Chalfen family. Everything comes to a big confrontational head at Dr. Chalfen’s presentation of Future Mouse, a genetically engineered mouse.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters were all well-developed and unique. I was truly invested in all the characters lives and there were some great touches of humor within the story. I loved how it all come together with a bit of bioengineering.

Title comes from: There was a fleeting comment about hunting blacks in the jungle and only being able to see them because of their white teeth. It may also have referred to Clara’s false teeth.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was a review of a book read in a previous year.


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