Brick Lane

Brick Lane

A Novel

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
8
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"A book you won't be able to put down. A Bangladeshi immigrant in London is torn between the kind, tedious older husband with whom she has an arranged marriage (and children) and the fiery political activist she lusts after. A novel that's multi-continental, richly detailed and elegantly crafted." --Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Sisterland

After an arranged marriage to Chanu, a man twenty years older, Nazneen is taken to London, leaving her home and heart in the Bangladeshi village where she was born. Her new world is full of mysteries. How can she cross the road without being hit by a car (an operation akin to dodging raindrops in the monsoon)? What is the secret of her bullying neighbor Mrs. Islam? What is a Hell's Angel? And how must she comfort the na#65533;ve and disillusioned Chanu?

As a good Muslim girl, Nazneen struggles to not question why things happen. She submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes herself to her husband and daughters. Yet to her amazement, she begins an affair with a handsome young radical, and her erotic awakening throws her old certainties into chaos.

Monica Ali's splendid novel is about journeys both external and internal, where the marvelous and the terrifying spiral together.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2003
Edition: First Scribner edition
ISBN: 9780743243315
0743243315
9780743243308
0743243307
Branch Call Number: FICTION Ali
Characteristics: 369 pages ; 24 cm

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WVMLStaffPicks Jan 12, 2015

Nazneen is a young unspoiled Bangladeshi girl who enters into an arranged marriage with a much older Bangladeshi who lives in London. She finds herself cloistered in a small flat in a highrise block in the East End of London. She speaks no English and is dependent on other immigrant women and her two daughters. But Nazneen is a survivor and we rejoice with her in her eventual triumph over her dependency.

w
writermala
Jul 28, 2013

This is the first book I have read about the Bangladeshi community in London and I loved it. Nazneen may be a woman from a village in Bangladesh married to an older educated man, a city man who lives in London, but she adjusts well. The book spins a tale around Nazneen, her family both in London and in Dhaka and how she deals with situations and people in London.
Not only is the tale fascinating and informative, it is philosophical too. For example when Nazneen fantasizes about wearing Western Clothes and feels that "for a glorious moment it was clothes, not fate, made her life."
Chanu on the other hand is always posing Philosophical questions like, "Is this true? It's a question I like very much. A student of philosophy must inquire all the time."
Even the casual conversations between the women can sometimes be very philosophical like when Hanufa and Razia are shooting the breeze about their children.
"He does not want to live the life I made for him."
"But that is our problem - making lives for our children. They want to make them for themselves.
"Yes. They will do that. Even if it kills them."
All in all a very well-written book. It is not surprising that it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

Up and coming British author Ali captures how a Muslim housewife might think and act and what her aspirations might be in this portrayal of a Bangladeshi woman who is transported to London at age eighteen to enter into an arranged marriage to a man old enough to be her father. Her daughters are the catalyst for her gradual transformation, love affair, and questioning of whether fate controls her or whether she has a hand in her own destiny.

j
joliebergman
Apr 17, 2013

I liked this book - it was a great summer read. Very interesting perspective and it opened my eyes to the London Muslim community.

s
snkattk
Jul 30, 2012

Engaging book of Bangladeshi immigrants straddling two cultures and the choices they are forced to make. Wonderful characters with unique perspecitves on their situations. Nazneen, mother, daughter, sister trapped between worlds of rigid culture and opportunity. Chanu gained my sympathy trying to uphold old country values in a London landscape with ever changing rules and opportunites. And beautiful Hasina seeing God and the best of humanity in the worst the world has to offer. So glad I found this book.

c
coastalkate
Jun 26, 2012

Monica Ali deftly portrays the culture shock of immigrants as well as many of the issues facing immigrant families and their children born in the new countries. Really enjoyed this book, very well written and different to many other books.

h
Huntsville1
Oct 21, 2009

Worth reading in order to acquire more information about the Immigrant Experience from this this Bangladeshi woman's experience.

a
AnamCara
Oct 27, 2007

I enjoyed this book very much and it was difficult to read at times because of the events in the woman's life. It covered continents with India and England as well as social mores and the social differences in the two countries.

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