1. Listen again. Are the following statements True or False? Write T or F in the brackets.

[  ] a   The three children are warm.

[  ] b   The twins are excited to see their father.

[  ]  Samad hugs his son tightly.

[  ] d   Millat doesn’t want Magid to come back.

[  ] e   Samad wants to remember this car ride.

[  ]  Archie is worried thar they will not get to the airport on time.

[  ] g   Magid will be able to see his science experiment on Monday.


a F   b T   c T   d T   c F   f T   g F


PRESENTER:   Today’s book extract comes from White Teeth, a novel by Zadie Smith.

Archie Jones, a British man, and Samad Iqbal, originally from Bangladesh, have been friends since they were soldiers together in the British Army in World War II. They both live and work in London where Archie is married to a Jamaican woman named Clara with whom he has one nine-year-old daughter, Irie, and Samad is married to Alsana and has twin boys, Millat and Magid, who are also nine. Samad, who works as a waiter, has decided that Britain in 1984 is an unhealthy place to bring up his sons, and is planning to send Magid to Samad’s family in Bangladesh in order to offer him a better education and upbringing. He has not told anyone except Archie about his plan; Magid does not know that his father is going to send him away. Archie has agreed to drive Samad and the child to the airport so that Magid can be put on the plane at 3 am.

READER:   Samad arrives, clasps Archie’s right hand in his own and feels the coldness of his friend’s fingers, feels the great debt he owes him. Involuntarily, he blows a cloud of frozen breath into his face. ‘I won’t forget this, Archibald,’ he is saying, ‘I won’t forget what you do for me tonight, my friend.’ Archie shuffles about awkwardly. ‘Sam, before you – there’s something I have to …’

But Samad is already reaching for the door, and Archie’s explanation must follow the sight of three shivering children in the back seat like a limp punch-line.

‘They woke up, Sam. They were all sleeping in the same room – a sleepover, like. Nothing I could do. I just put coats over their pyjamas – I couldn’t risk Clam hearing – I had to bring them.’

Irie asleep; curled up with her head on the ashtray and her feet resting on the gearbox, but Millat and Magid reaching out for their father gleefully, pulling at his flares, chucking him on the chin.

‘Hey, Abba! Where we going, Abba? To a secret disco party? Are we really?’

Samad looks severely at Archie; Archie shrugs.

‘We’re going on a trip to all airport. To Heathrow.’


‘And then when we get there, Magid … Magid.’

It is like a dream. Samad feels the rears before he can stop them; he reaches out to his eldest-son-by-two-minutes and holds him so tight to his chest that he snaps the arm of his glasses. ‘And then Magid is going on a trip with Auntie Zinat.’ ‘Will he come back?’ It is Millat. ‘It would be cool if he didn’t come back!’

Magid prises himself from his father’s headlock. ‘Is it far? Will I be back in time for Monday – only I’ve got to see how my photosynthesis is for science. I took two plants: put one in the cupboard and one in the sunlight – and I’ve got to see, Abba, I’ve got to see which one …’

Years from now, even hours after that plane leaves, this will be history that Samad tries not to remember. That his memory makes no effort to retain. A sudden stone submerged. False teeth floating silently to the bottom of the glass.

‘Will I get back for school, Abba?’

‘Come on,’ says Archie, solemnly from the from seat. ‘We’ve got to get cracking if we’re going to make it.’

‘You’ll be in a school on Monday, Magid. I promise. Now sit back in your seats, go on. For Abba, please.’

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