Still in her teenage years, Nazneen finds herself in an arranged marriage with a disappointed man who is twenty years older. Away from the mud and heat of her Bangladeshi village, home is now a cramped flat in a high-rise block in London's East End. Nazneen knows not a word of English, and is forced to depend on her husband. But unlike him she is practical and wise, and befriends a fellow Asian girl Razia, who helps her understand the strange ways of her adopted new British home.
Nazneen keeps in touch with her sister Hasina back in the village. But the rebellious Hasina has kicked against cultural tradition and run off in a 'love marriage' with the man of her dreams. When he suddenly turns violent, she is forced into the degrading job of garment girl in a cloth factory.
Confined in her flat by tradition and family duty, Nazneen also sews furiously for a living, shut away with her buttons and linings - until the radical Karim steps unexpectedly into her life. On a background of racial conflict and tension, they embark on a love affair that forces Nazneen finally to take control of her fate.
Strikingly imagined, gracious and funny, this novel is at once epic and intimate. Exploring the role of Fate in our lives - those who accept it; those who defy it - it traces the extraordinary transformation of an Asian girl, from cautious and shy to bold and dignified woman....Continua
This girl is great! I love her novel. Definitely must read also "In the Kitchen".
From my Amazon review-
I managed to finish this book even if with great difficulty. Great book if you have difficulty falling asleep as it so tedious it helps one to slumber.
Starts well but then the first 100 pages become tedious then once I thought it had got interesting it "slowed" down once more and got even more tedious only to "pick up" once more in the last 50 pages or so.
I basically agree with what other reviewers who have given one or two stars have written.
I found the characters flat and did not care for most of them ( Razia is the only one that I could care for).
I am still at a loss why the sister Hasina wrote letters in broken English, sometimes to the point of utter nonsense...was it to show that she was illiterate? Even then she would have written in her native tongue - Bangladeshi and even if her written standards were very low she would have written as she spoke...there would be spelling mistakes and mistakes in using the subjunctive, etc but I have difficulty in believing they would be as they were written by MA
Nazneen is irritating, she prays, she acts the servant to her husband, she lives and stays in the community but then has the guts to have an affair with a younger man. (Was this to show rebellion to her status?) and how come despite everybody being a gossip and knowing what was happening in the community her husband Chanu never knew about her going to the Bengal Tigers meetings herself?
The book has been over-hyped. There definitely is more interesting literature out there in general. There are also books, both autobiographies and fiction, that deal with the culture clash and immigrants in GB and make a much more interesting read.
I picked this up mostly because it was talked about so much in the UK, and although I enjoyed it, I probably don't rate it as highly as the critics seemed to. It was the story of immigrants to the UK and an arranged marriage. I would read further books by Monica Ali, but am not chomping at the bit to read another one....Continua
A young Bangladeshi woman is married (an arranged marriage) to a rather worthless man. They are immigrants to England in post-9/11 days. This is the story of a woman who comes into her own, despite her mother's warning that, "If God wanted us to ask questions, he would have made us men."...Continua