In short : - More original than Smith's second novel, 'On Beauty', although I enjoyed that, too. - More poetic than Jonathan Franzén, who writes high-brow bestsellers rather than immortal literature. There is the odd chance that 'White Teeth' actually might prove immortal. That is how good it is. - More fun than Salman Rushdie, who also dabbles in beautiful language and convoluted plotlines, but lacks self-distance.
To finish, Smith's accuracy of tone is impressive, especially so as she, a young woman of 25, has chosen two middle-aged men as main focalizers.