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      Antoine Online

      Brick Lane

      by Monica Ali
      Our price: LBP 66,405 / $ 44.27Unavailable
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      Product Details

      • Publisher: Black Swan
      • Publishing date: 01/05/2004
      • Language: English
      • ISBN-13: 9780552771153
      • ISBN: 0552771155

      Synopsis

      Wildly embraced by critics, readers, and contest judges (who put it on the short-list for the 2003 Man Booker Prize), Brick Lane is indeed a rare find: a book that lives up to its hype. Monica Ali's debut novel chronicles the life of Nazneen, a Bangladeshi girl so sickly at birth that the midwife at first declares her stillborn. At 18 her parents arrange a marriage to Chanu, a Bengali immigrant living in England. Although Chanu--who's twice Nazneen's age--turns out to be a foolish blowhard who "had a face like a frog," Nazneen accepts her fate, which seems to be the main life lesson taught by the women in her family. "If God wanted us to ask questions," her mother tells her, "he would have made us men." Over the next decade-and-a-half Nazneen grows into a strong, confident woman who doesn't defy fate so much as bend it to her will. The great delight to be had in Brick Lane lies with Ali's characters, from Chanu the kindly fool to Mrs. Islam the elderly loan shark to Karim the political rabblerouser, all living in a hothouse of Bengali immigrants. Brick Lane combines the wide scope of a social novel about the struggles of Islamic immigrants in pre- and post-9/11 England with the intimate story of Nazneen, one of the more memorable heroines to come along in a long time. If Dickens or Trollope were loosed upon contemporary London, this is exactly the sort of novel they would cook up. --Claire Dederer

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      • Interesting book despite uninteresting characters
        From Amazon

        Monica Ali has written a historically interesting book about the Bangladeshi experience in England; however, most of the characters could have been better developed. A reader can have an interesting few hours by reading the sister's letters and skimming the rest of the book. Ms. Ali's words brought to life the poverty and struggles experienced by many of the English Bangladeshi immigrants. The story Ms. Ali created about the main character's sister, who still resided in Bangladesh, and the way that her story her told, by letters, was by far the most interesting part of the book. I wished that Ms. Ali would have made the lives of the main character's daughters more interesting. The daughters appeared to be uni-dimensional, one dutiful and the other argumentative. The girls' desire to become more western and less Bangladeshi could have been better developed. Similarly, the main character's love affair could not have been more boring. I repeatedly wondered why the main character chose to have a relationship with such an uninteresting, unattractive "boy."

      • long... pointless ... boring
        From Amazon

        This is just another depressing book about South Asians. I have to admit I only got half way through, so maybe the end was better, but I tend to doubt it. I got the book on CD - listening to the whiney South Asian woman reading it was painful.

      • Bengalis in London
        From Amazon

        I was inspired to read Monica Ali's debut novel Brick Lane, about Bangladeshis in London by my recent trip to Dhaka. It is an interesting novel that explores identity and the women's role in a society that still practices arranged marriages. It has come under attack for portraying some Bengalis as uneducated and backward. It reminds me of the Jhumpa Lahiri books, except instead of middle class academics what we have here is the tenement dwelling underclass in London.

      • This book stinks
        From Amazon

        I read this for a literature course. Had I not been required to read it, I would have stopped long before page three-hundred whatever. Personally, I found it too long for the low quality detail and plot Monica Ali gives us.

      • Worth reading
        From Amazon

        I enjoyed this book about a Bangladeshi girl who starts to question her choices in life. Nazneen agrees to an arranged marriage, because it's the traditional custom and she wants to please her father. Her free-thinking sister runs away to marry a local boy she loves. The book follows both sisters' lives over a course of 15 years. Nazneen moves to London with her Bangladeshi husband, Chaunu, who's quite a bit older than she is. He's not a bad man, but he's pompous and he loves to hear himself talk. Nazneen endures her loneliness and misses her childhood home. She struggles to learn English. As the years go by, she has children with Chanu. She treasures the letters she receives from her sister, who still lives in Bangladesh. But Hasina struggles with her own problems. She escaped an arranged marriage, but her "love marriage" is not what she hoped for. The author writes with humor and heart. She vividly describes Bangladeshi customs, clothes, and food (you can smell the food). She also has a gift for dialogue. My only criticism - Hasina's letters are written in broken English, and sometimes they're difficult to read. But her story is powerful, and I waited for each new installment. I was sorry when this book ended. Well worth reading.

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