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Zadie Smith

Author of White Teeth

44+ Works 36,271 Members 868 Reviews 149 Favorited

About the Author

Zadie Smith is a novelist, essayist and short story writer. As of 2012, she has published four novels, White Teeth (2000), The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005), and NW (2012), all of which have received critical praise. In 2003, she was included on Granta's list of 20 best young authors and show more Smith won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2006. Her novel White Teeth was included in Time magazines TIME 100 Best English-language. Smith joined NYU's Creative Writing Program as a tenured professor in 2010. Smith attended Hampstead Comprehensive School, and King's College, Cambridge University where she studied English literature. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: roderickfield.com

Works by Zadie Smith

White Teeth (2000) — Author — 13,710 copies
On Beauty (2005) 9,387 copies
The Autograph Man (2002) 3,032 copies
Swing Time (2016) 2,572 copies
NW (2012) — Author — 2,451 copies
The Fraud (2023) 817 copies
The Book of Other People (2008) — Editor — 749 copies
Feel Free: Essays (2018) 679 copies
Intimations: Six Essays (2020) 648 copies
Grand Union: Stories (2019) 509 copies
The Embassy of Cambodia (2013) 192 copies
Martha and Hanwell (2005) 143 copies
Burned Children of America (2001) — Editor — 123 copies
The Wife of Willesden (2021) 89 copies

Associated Works

Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) — Introduction, some editions — 19,295 copies
The Quiet American (1955) — Introduction, some editions — 8,084 copies
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871) — Introduction, some editions — 7,908 copies
Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) — Introduction, some editions — 3,155 copies
The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) — Introduction, some editions — 2,990 copies
Girl With Curious Hair (1988) — Foreword, some editions — 2,261 copies
Speaking with the Angel (2001) — Contributor — 1,525 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 (2003) — Introduction — 751 copies
Writer's Thesaurus (2004) — Contributor — 563 copies
The Library Book (2012) — Contributor — 399 copies
Recitatif: A Story (1983) — Introduction, some editions — 378 copies
The 40s: The Story of a Decade (2014) — Contributor — 278 copies
Granta 81: Best of Young British Novelists 2003 (2003) — Contributor — 275 copies
The Best American Essays 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 228 copies
The Best American Essays 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 227 copies
The Best American Essays 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 167 copies
Best European Fiction 2010 (2009) — Preface — 165 copies
Stop What You're Doing and Read This! (2011) — Contributor — 158 copies
The Best of McSweeney's {complete} (1800) — Contributor — 145 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 144 copies
Granta 67: Women and Children First (1999) — Composer — 143 copies
The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker (2021) — Contributor — 92 copies
Busted in New York and Other Essays (2019) — Foreword, some editions — 50 copies
The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom (2019) — Foreword — 43 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 26 copies
Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day (2017) — Contributor — 20 copies
Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill (2017) — Introduction — 17 copies
The Paris Review 208 2014 Spring (2014) — Contributor — 17 copies
The Story About the Story Vol. II (2013) — Contributor — 10 copies
We Are (2021) — Contributor — 10 copies
White Teeth [2002 TV mini series] — Original book — 2 copies


1001 (338) 1001 books (398) 20th century (488) 21st century (267) African American (650) American (229) American literature (344) anthology (472) British (863) British literature (623) children's (241) classic (695) classics (749) contemporary (247) contemporary fiction (307) ebook (293) England (609) English (342) English literature (464) essays (780) family (405) fantasy (586) fiction (8,865) Florida (243) historical fiction (246) Kindle (270) literary fiction (268) literature (1,051) London (695) non-fiction (469) novel (1,459) own (346) race (555) read (941) short stories (672) to-read (3,818) UK (244) unread (469) Vietnam (418) women (241)

Common Knowledge



May 2020: Zadie Smith in Monthly Author Reads (September 2021)
(M53'12) The Autograph Man, Zadie Smith in World Reading Circle (October 2012)
1001 Group Read for September, 2012: White Teeth in 1001 Books to read before you die (September 2012)
On Beauty by Zadie Smith in Orange January/July (July 2012)
White Teeth -Mirrani's book 1 of 2012 in World Reading Circle (January 2012)


This book takes on a lot of weighty subjects, like family, religion, colonialism, and race, but never feels heavy. That it was a debut (published when Zadie Smith was just 25!) makes this all the more impressive. Not everything really develops or is executed as well as it could be, but she draws vivid characters and paces her slightly overstuffed plot well, which makes this an engaging read.
ghneumann | 247 other reviews | Jun 14, 2024 |
We meet the Belsey family at a time of crisis. Howard has just confessed infidelity to Kiki, his wife of 30 years. Howard is white, a British expat, and an academic, an art history professor at the prestigious local liberal arts school whose long-gestating book on Rembrandt is going nowhere. Kiki is Black, Floridian, a nurse, disinclined towards intellectualism, and almost as much of an expat in her own way as her husband in their small New England college town. They have three children: Levi, who is still in high school and whose adolescent search for identity is all the more fraught because of his background, Zora, a student at her father’s school, ambitious and smart and vain, and Jerome, the oldest, who draws his own family into contact with the Kipps family. Not only is Monty Kipps, a Black British man who originally hails from the West Indies, a professional rival for Howard, with a just-published and very popular book on Rembrandt, but he proudly stands for conservative, faith-based values that are antithetical to the liberal atheism practiced by the Belseys. Jerome interns with the Kipps’s family business and has a brief, intense fling with their daughter Victoria. Shortly thereafter, Kipps is invited to be a visiting professor at the college Howard teaches at, putting them all in close range to each other, and they begin to interact in some ways that are expected…and some that are not. This is just my second Zadie Smith, but I feel like I already have a sense of the kinds of stories she enjoys writing (families in opposition, culture clashes, the ongoing legacy of the British Empire, deceptions coming to light). I found White Teeth to be less polished and more engaging, but On Beauty left me with more to admire than to actually connect with. Smith’s writing is sharp and witty, full of little skewerings of academia. She also has a strong sense of scope, able to draw in multidisciplinary and multicultural references to her narrative, which also draws some parallels to Howards End, though it’s hardly an adaptation and I don’t think the book loses much without those references if you haven’t read it yet. I read it a few years back and quite liked it, so I enjoyed being able to find those little moments of connection, like a little treat. It’s an accomplished, assured novel. But what kept me from being able to really get into it the way I’d hoped was the characters. Kiki was the most interesting of all of them for me, but I never really felt like I understood her, particularly her marriage to Howard. That marriage, and whether the family that it created will split apart or pull together, is central to the story and never really made sense to me. As the story unfolds, it is clear what draws Howard to her, but not at all clear why she did or does find him worth her time. Virtually everyone else is some degree of unlikable, but not in a dynamic way, just in a way where I found them tiresome to spend mental time with. Worth reading certainly but not one that I imagine ever coming back to.… (more)
ghneumann | 223 other reviews | Jun 14, 2024 |
I found this disjointed, although initially engaged with the story. It felt like it could have been two separate books.
HelenBaker | 36 other reviews | Jun 13, 2024 |
A strange book. I found it difficult to get into. The author writes some very short “chapters” and often jumps between time periods for no obvious reason. It gave me the impression that she had dropped the manuscript and some chapters had ended up out of order. Also, the author has a habit of leaving things unclear. For instance, who a pronoun refers to is sometimes ambiguous and that obscures the meaning. Thirdly, some characters have more than one name and it is hard to follow the changes and why those changes are made. Mrs Touchet is also Eliza, and the Targe, and perhaps has other names. Perhaps the first half of the book is difficult.

When the author tells the story of Bogle, the book becomes more interesting and easier to follow. This section (and it does stay together as a coherent part of the book) is probably the best. Some of the later chapters about the trial of the claimant are cleverly written and make for quality literature. Sadly, the final chapters slip back into the earlier lack of clarity. The chapter in which Bogle and Mrs Touchet debate the concept of freedom is particularly strange; it seems to lack context within the rest of the book. Rather than ending, the book fizzles out.
… (more)
johnavery | 36 other reviews | May 31, 2024 |


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