Crossing racial and cultural boundaries has been a hallmark of Zadie Smith’s career. Discuss this idea in the context of each of her books and its characters.
Many critics felt that Smith’s second novel, The Autograph Man, did not live up to the promise of her widely acclaimed first novel, White Teeth. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Some of the scenes in Smith’s novels are laugh-out-loud funny, such as the scene in White Teeth when Irie Jones decides to have her hair straightened. What scenes in her books made you laugh?
Smith’s work has been described as a brilliant mixture of references to both pop and high culture. List some examples of each type of culture referred to in her books, such as films, pop stars, and literary references.
One of Smith’s themes is the unpredictability of life. Discuss some examples of the role that chance and coincidence play in her work. Archie Jones’s tossing of the dice to make important decisions is an image of chance. Can you think of other scenes or images that emphasize life’s unpredictability?