Tag Archives: saga

Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth” is an Impressive Melting Pot of a Saga

From the Baochi Book Collection

Zadie Smith’s White Teeth was published in 2000 and received critical acclaim. The novel won numerous awards, including Time Magazine’s 2005 list of 100 Best English-Language Novels since 1923. I think White Teeth is a magnificent work of fiction filled with wit, satire, depth, and a cast of unforgettable characters.

The novel takes place in contemporary London and centers around two men — Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal — and their families. Englishman Archie and Muslim Bengali Samad form an unlikely friendship as soldiers during World War II and later become neighbors in a working-class suburb. After a failed first marriage, the once-conventional Archie unconventionally marries Clara, a Jamaican woman. The couple has a daughter named Irie. Samad enters into a pre-arranged marriage with Alsana, and they have twin boys named Millat and Magid.

As the members of the two families struggle to define their individual identities in a political and racially-charged society, their bond to one another becomes tenuous. Expectations abound between these two intertwined clans. Samad, a sometimes erring and devout Muslim, finds that his wife’s will outmatches his own and that his wayward twin sons have strayed from his religious faith and their Bengali roots. Simple Archie wants everyone to just get along; he is baffled by the tension between his wife and daughter, as well as the teenage angst rippling through all three kids. Continue reading

Samantha Chang’s Inheritance is a Mesmerizing Chinese Saga

From The Baochi Book Collection

I was delighted to randomly discover this novel at the bookstore because the author, Sam Chang, was my very first college writing instructor. I remember the sweeping and graceful way she read aloud to us in class. As I read Samantha’s first novel, Inheritance, I could distinctly hear that voice with its graceful and gentle pace. There is never a dull moment in this novel. Continue reading

Larry McMurty’s Lonesome Dove is a Deliciously Long Western Epic

During the two weeks I was reading and toting around Larry McMurty’s Lonesome Dove, I encountered numerous people who, upon seeing the book in my hand, gushed about it. One person noticed that I was on page 800 of the 950 odd pages and reminisced that at that point in the novel he began to read slowly, savoring the remaining moments of the book. I told him that I felt that way after page 300, although I neglected to slow down.

The novel begins in the small Texan town of Lonesome Dove in the 1880s. This is an historical period of cowboys and Indians, when just about any state between New York and California proliferated with American imperialism, Indian scalping, and a whole lotta horses and bulls stampeding around. Continue reading