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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of White Teeth by Zadie Smith, read by Lenny Henry, Sagar Arya, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Ray Panthaki.

Zadie Smith's White Teeth is a classic international best seller and an unforgettable portrait of London.

One of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-listen.

©2018 Zadie Smith (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"Funny, clever...and a rollicking good read." (Independent)

"An astonishingly assured but, funny and serious...I was delighted." (Salman Rushdie)

"The almost preposterous talent was clear from the first pages." (Julian Barnes, Guardian

What listeners say about White Teeth

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Spoilt by uneven narration

This is a great story but not a great audiobook. There doesn't seem to be any logic to having four different narrators and two of them are awful. Lenny Henry starts off brilliantly, only to be succeeded by Sagar Arya who gives every character the same voice and accent. Pippa Bennet-Warner retrieves things a little (although she's not as good as Lenny) but the final section is given to Ray Panthaki who completely murders the denouement of the novel. He puts emphasis in the wrong places and clearly is often just reading out the words with no idea of what the sentence means. Don't they have producers for these things?

17 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Odd production choice

I found it an odd production choice to have four different narrators. Yes the book is divided into four sections which focus the story on different characters, but it is a third person narrative which means that the whole cast of characters is given a makeover by the new narrator.

I really enjoyed the characterisations given by Sagar Area and Pippa Bennett-Warner. Sagar's Samad Iqbal was terrific and Pippa's voicing of the younger characters was brilliant. However, like many other reviewers, I felt let down by the fourth and final narrator who seems to have made the conscious decision not to distinguish between characters (with the exception of Mickey) and gave a listless performance to much of the narration. This, unfortunately, made the story hard to follow and detracted somewhat from the climax of the novel.

The novel as a whole was very different to what I had expected (not in an unpleasant way), spanning several decades and generations of the two main families and having moments of real humour to drive the story along.

5 people found this helpful

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Spoiled by Final Narrator

Unfortunately the whole book was ruined for me by the last narrator who was emotionless, shouty, and constantly confused me due to his monotone voice.

The other narrators were great though.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting story, but I was unmoved

The characters were well defined, each having their own quirky background story. They all come together at the tense theatrical denouement after a meandering storyline told from the perspectives of the different protagonists. I can understand why this book was so popular and well-reviewed. It was vital and compelling.
For some reason I did not enjoy it as much as I expected, and I am struggling to understand why. It could be that I find London too ordinary and depressing. It could be that I had no empathy with any character. It could be the narration that started well with Lenny Henry, but lacked energy and emotion by the end.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

I love this book so was really looking forward to the audiobook. The first three narrators were brilliant, I really get a lot from audiobooks when the narrators put effort into voicing each character. The final narrator didn’t put any effort in at all, this disappointed me as it led to me daydreaming while listening to the book at its pivitol ending. This book really is a classic though so I’ll to forgive the final narrator. Once again this book is fantastic, I just wish the final narrator tried a bit harder.

1 person found this helpful

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why did I wait so long to read this.

I was lost in the story, the characters and how it unfolded.
It's a long time since I've been so absorbed.

1 person found this helpful

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at times, it was engaging

at times it was vvery engaging and some other times, I felt like it dragged on

1 person found this helpful

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fantastic

This was a great audiobook, I loved the changing voices! and the swift movement through the book. I really recommend this audiobook!

1 person found this helpful

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Sadie is Amazing

The four narrator thing is a bit odd, each time they change it takes a little adapting as all the characters voices change. Other than that though: absolute tour de force of British literature, truly brilliant!

1 person found this helpful

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Superb

Well performed, beautifully written and structured, enlightening and entertaining. I regret not reading this as soon as it was published.

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Profile Image for Hamza Saleem
  • Hamza Saleem
  • 21-07-20

A must read for a modern messy world

a mesmerizing social panorama of modern London with all it's complexity, chaos and plurality. The primary story is of two men of different backgrounds and families and all the noise that flows from that, in a captivatingly seductive narrative voice .The story also offers multiple deep( often comical) insights on history, colonialsim, religion, race, family and belonging.