“… the life you lead is a midnight thing, always a hair’s breadth from the witching hour; it is volatile; it is threadbare; it is carefree in the true sense of that term.”
Another one from the early days of my return to reading; a non-traumatising break from Bret Easton Ellis.
Zadie Smith won an award for this book and it’s easy to see why. Her prose flows beautifully and White Teeth is a pleasure to read. It’s multi-narrative but easy enough to follow. The story unfolds like a classy soap opera.
The book is about people, about lives. I have a big interest in people and the characters in this book could be real.
There is no big story, just lots of little ones whose roots twist together and form this novel. All of the characters are likeable and unlike the other books I recommend, there isn’t anything too disturbing. In all fairness the book begins with an attempted suicide, but keep reading, it’s not awful, I promise.
Racism is a common theme within the stories. The book is set in Britain and the characters are immigrants and British people of colour, aside from Archie, the first character we meet who is apparently white-British. Archie has my heart, he seems like a stand-up guy.
The prejudices are subtle in places, the children are made to feel like they don’t fit in. Western beauty standards make Irie feel that she must conform.
We look at England through the generations, through multicultured eyes in a multinarrative format. The view is via the older fathers, the teenage children. We see how women are treated and how the teens feel about growing up, they don’t share the same experiences despite being so geographically close.
Definitely worth a read, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable book that I find very impressive as a first novel. I wish I could write like Zadie Smith.