Human, All Too Inhuman
July 24, 2000
White Teeth by Zadie Smith (Random House, 462 pp., $25.95) A genre is hardening. It is becoming easy to describe the contemporary idea of the "big, ambitious novel." Familial resemblances are asserting themselves, and a parent can be named: he is Dickens. Such recent novels as The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Mason & Dixon, Underworld, Infinite Jest, and now White Teeth overlap rather as the pages of an atlas expire into each other at their edges.
Books Without Borders
July 12, 1999
An Equal Music by Vikram Seth (Broadway Books, 381 pp., $25) The poet Ronsard once began a poem by saying that in sixteenth-century France writers were running about in their abundance like ants. Not all of them, he hastened to add, were any good. On March 22, the Delhi magazine Outlook said the same of teeming India.