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White Teeth

Length: 18 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (185 ratings)

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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 members say
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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?

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

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

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant

brilliant story. my first audio. second reader threw me with archie but small point!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

mixed feelings

it took me 3 attempts at reading this, I found it quite hard to get through and I felt it went off at a tangent a few times, but i downloaded it as an audio book and found it easier to follow by listening than reading and actually at the end when it all tied together and came to an end I enjoyed it, i think if i read it again I'd appreciate it more.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A shambolic and overwritten book

The woman's narration was excellent but only by accelerating the final voice could I get the thing finished.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What an adventure!

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters drew me in from the start. The narrator's were good on the whole but there were alot of different accents to cover and some where more adept at mimicry where the others grated my nerves at times. It was not bad enough for me to stop listening but did distract me. Overall loved this book and would recommend the audiobook.

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

Climatic final quarter ruined by weak narration

In a few years, I think I'd be willing to give the physical book a try. I loved the story and the writing and whilst it was slow paced I found it really colourful and interesting with vibrant carachters.
However, like so many other reviewers I felt the narration - the final narrator in particular - really let down the telling of the novel. I missed a lot of the climactic last quarter... purely because my mind had wandered. It took me ages to finish because whilst I wanted to hear what happened, the knowledge I had to endure another hour of that narration kept me from coming back - I listened to two other audiobooks before finally returning to this one.
If you are in two minds, I would suggest you buy a physical copy and read it with your eyes, for the sake of your ears.