Sunil's Reviews > White Teeth

White Teeth by Zadie Smith
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May 30, 09

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It can't get any more post-modern than this; a pinnacle of post-modern literature, White Teeth, written in the winter of 20th century is an Hegelian synthesis of sorts. It has come to be the symbol of the contemporary fragmented world - an offspring of the marriage between the inescapable past ( an empire there was, a distant cold war and drifting faintness of World Wars) and the promise of future ( the dynamics of economic politics, pro-labour climate, a recently forged EU, growing environmental awareness).

In many ways, it is the Pulp Fiction of post-modern literature; the characters are numerous but indistinct. Depth of the narration is sacrified for variety but still none of the characters are allowed to take the centre.
Their stories are their own yet they all are interactive and adjacent enough to somehow add up to the grand collage that is the book.

The writing is confident with an air of fresh humour while the narration has a distinct flair to stoke the comical nerve of all - the melodramatic, et cynic et politically correct, well, perhaps even a terrorist. ( something they want to call hysterical realism)The characters are memorable and funny but in a serious way; When was the last time you heard of an Englishman who wanted to run away from a world war and wished to kill himself after forty years and failed? the various settings in the book are believable ( Move over Mr Rushdie)but still is an inventory of exuberant comedies- Samad’s persistent guilt about masturbation, his amazingly hilarious speech at the Parent Teacher’s meeting.

For all these reasons, White Teeth is a rare accomplishment, fringe of hilarious dysfunctions, a book composed by justified innocence and unique energy. A book, perhaps, only possible on a debut.
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