I Want My ZTV: Zadie Smith Loves the New Miniseries Based on Her Hit Novel White Teeth, Coming to PBS This May. "It Would Have Been a Disaster as a Cinema Movie," She Says. (in the Margin)

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ZADIE SMITH IS THE WELL-EDUCATED, well-spoken, award-winning author of 2000's smash hit White Teeth, the. woman whom Esquire magazine's U.K. edition once named its thirteenth-most-eligible bachelorette, and she currently holds a prestigious fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Cambridge, Massachusetts. What she needs, though, is a car. Not having one has meant she's had to teach herself to how to cook.

"It's too cold to leave the house," Smith explains, digging through her kitchen's refrigerator while a wok full of shrimp-and-pepper stir-fry sizzles on the stove. "If you live in New York and you cook, you're a fool. There's a restaurant on every corner.... Here, what the hell are you going to do? Unless you're going to eat hardware, you're in trouble."

Smith has been in Cambridge only since last fall--living in a rather unassuming but tastefully decorated duplex a couple of miles from Harvard Square and, as it happens, just around the corner from a hardware store--but she says she's already beginning to miss London, the city of her birth. London's also the setting of the multigenerational, multifamily, multiracial story told in White Teeth, and, by extension, the backdrop of a wonderful new miniseries adaptation of the novel airing on PBS stations May 11 and 18. Smith is happy with the outcome--she says it would have been "a disaster" as a feature film, that it works much better in its four-hour TV format--and ecstatic about Om Puri's performance. …

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