The 150-word Review: When your hopes, dreams, failures, and regrets, heaped upon your children end in disaster; when your adopted country, the one you’ve shed blood for, turns its back on you; when your homeland fails to resurrect the fundamental good that must still reside in your blood; what are you to do? You do what any Englishman (by way of Bangladesh) would do; you find your best mate and head to the pub.
Samad Iqball (ICK-ball!!) and Archie Jones are best mates and the patriarchs of two London families in Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth.” In this brilliant Whitbread-winning debut novel, three generations struggle to maintain (or discover) identity, fulfillment, independence, and joy in a multicultural world that is, at once, nurturing and indifferent. It is a story about fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, immigrants and imperialists, triumph and disgrace, and the complexities that arise when everything is thrown into one pot.
You would like this book if you’re a fan of: genetically engineered mice (FUTURE MOUSE©), culture shock, browbeaten husbands, exasperated wives, sibling rivalries, self-involved animal rights terrorists, “hysterical realism,” and parodies of the misguided middle class (Chalfenism? Absolutely brilliant).
This book would go great with: Samuel Smith’s India Ale
Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Interesting fact Norm… like her character, Irie Jones, Zadie Smith is also the daughter of a Jamaican mother and an English father.
Reading this book would impress: Jehovah Witnesses, E.M. Forster, Mangal Pandey, Jamaicans, Bengalis, Englishmen and maybe your dentist.