Pages: 77 / 448; 17%
The Reason for the Reaping: The title has always caught my eye as an attractive facial feature as well as a life goal. Plus, Zadie Smith sounds like a genius and her new novel, Swing Time, was released recently. So, let’s start with Smith’s first novel. In the beginning…
As I Lay Summarizing: Archie Jones and Samad Miah Iqbal are old, and they’re best friends. They are also married (not to each other. It’s 1975; that’s not allowed). This certainly seems like a zeitgeist-of-London sort of story. Smith is aiming right for the gut/heart strings/thinking-cap, not for the predictable plot line. Watch these interesting characters interact with their interesting, English post-war world.
The Line That Killed Me: “‘But I cannot be worrying-worrying all the time about the truth. I have to worry about the truth that can be lived with. And that is the difference between losing your marbles drinking the salty sea, or swallowing the stuff from the streams'” (68). Death by painful practicality aka privilege.
Best Character: Ryan Topps
Why [As] You Like It: White Teeth walks the line between blatant domestic life and weird symbolic episodes. It’s unapologetically post-modern, but it’s also accessible. The story is so easy to get caught up in because normal, wonderful people are living semi-normal, wonderful lives, except it feels much more dramatic because you’re watching it all unfold. Like Grey’s Anatomy, except smarter. And Smith doesn’t seem to be about ripping your heart out every season. You’ll read with a smirk – rub your thumb across your fingers; that’s what this story has.
Why I’m Gone, Girl: Annd of course WWII is involved. That sounds insensitive, but WWII comes up in basically every textbook post-modern work. It’s not that I dislike war stories. It’s just slightly reminiscent of hearing your friend tell their “omg you won’t BELIEVE this” story over and over again to everyone who slightly gives a damn. It feels overdone. I got it: WWII is important and completely defines an old person’s worldview as they attempt to navigate the society in which they live and their mortality and all that jazz. GOD MOM. I hope Smith is quick about it.
Last Line, Last Chance: “‘..at hand. We’ll just have to wait here until help arrives.'”
Will I turn the page, or toss it into Mount Doom?
I’m not riveted, but I’m not dreading the rest. I will turn the page, because I want to know who has the whitest teeth. Plus, Smith deserves a chance to wrap up the war story.