Monica Ali's gorgeous first novel is the deeply moving story of one woman, Nazneen, born in a Bangladeshi village and transported to London at age eighteen to enter into an arranged marriage. Already hailed by the London Observer as "one of the most significant British novelists of her generation," Ali has written a stunningly accomplished debut about one outsider's quest to find her voice.
What could not be changed must be borne. And since nothing could be changed, everything had to be borne. This principle ruled her life. It was mantra, fettle, and challenge.
Nazneen's inauspicious entry into the world, an apparent stillbirth on the hard mud floor of a village hut, imbues in her a sense of fatalism that she carries across continents when she is married off to Chanu, a man old enough to be her father. Nazneen moves to London and, for years, keeps house, cares for her husband, and bears children, just as a girl from the village is supposed to do. But gradually she is transformed by her experience, and begins to question whether fate controls her or whether she has a hand in her own destiny.
Motherhood is a catalyst -- Nazneen's daughters chafe against their father's traditions and pride -- and to her own amazement, Nazneen falls in love with a young man in the community. She discovers both the complexity that comes with free choice and the depth of her attachment to her husband, her daughters, and her new world.
While Nazneen journeys along her path of self-realization, her sister, Hasina, rushes headlong at her life, first making a "love marriage," then fleeing her violent husband. Woven through the novel, Hasina's letters from Dhaka recount a world of overwhelming adversity. Shaped, yet not bound, by their landscapes and memories, both sisters struggle to dream -- and live -- beyond the rules prescribed for them.
Vivid, profoundly humane, and beautifully rendered, Brick Lane captures a world at once unimaginable and achingly familiar. And it establishes Monica Ali as a thrilling new voice in fiction. As Kirkus Reviews said, "She is one of those dangerous writers who see everything."...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