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Where to start with: Zadie Smith

Not sure whether to read or revisit White Teeth, or go for one of the celebrated author’s other works? Novelist Yara Rodrigues Fowler who was “raised” on Smith has a handy guide.

Zadie Smith made a splash in the literary scene at the turn of the millennium with her debut novel White Teeth. She has since written everything from short stories to playscripts, and made headlines earlier this year when she sang with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. South London writer Yara Rodrigues Fowler, whose second novel there are more things has been nominated for this year’s Orwell prize for political fiction, told the Observer that she was “raised” on Smith, recognising the London she knew in the novels. Here, Rodrigues Fowler suggests some good places to start for those wanting to read or reread Smith’s work.

The entry point There is no novel like White Teeth – both in terms of the book itself and the mythology that surrounded its publication in 2000. Smith was 21 years old and still at university when she was offered a six-figure book deal for the first 80 pages of the manuscript. The sheer brilliance, audacity and possibility of her story is the stuff of British literary legend. The novel’s main characters are Alfred and Samad, two ageing second world war veterans with much younger wives, and horny rule-breaking children. White Teeth is the riotous love child of The Buddha in Suburbia and Middlemarch – full of plot twists and turns, and a world away from today’s autofiction debuts.

Continue reading on The Guardian website, May 27, 2022

on 29.05.2022 at 9:11
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