Holding the book "White Teeth" in my hand for the first time, I felt sure it had to be about one of two things: Dentists or sharks.
But, surprise, it is about neither (although there are some references to a character aspiring to be a dentist). The novel is written by a Brit, Zadie Smith. She is 24 years old, recently graduated from Cambridge University and this is her first book.
By the end of my reading one thing became clear. This is a very good book. The setting is mostly in London ranging from the 1940s to present day. The tale is multi-faceted, exciting and deep. There are many characters, most of whom belong to two families around whom the story centers.
Samad Iqbal is a Bengali Muslim (or is it Pakistani?, or Indian? - the Londoners always get confused), who after fighting for the British in World War II, comes to live in England to give a better life to his children (he thinks). His wife is a dynamic and domineering Indian who, by custom, he was paired with by their parents. They have twin boys, rebellious Millat and brilliant Magid, who grow to be 18 by the end of the story. The exciting turmoil around the Iqbals is constant and the core of the story.