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Brick lane : a novel by Monica Ali

Brick lane : a novel (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Monica Ali

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4,2561091,165 (3.43)220
Title:Brick lane : a novel
Authors:Monica Ali
Info:New York : Scribner, 2003.
Collections:Your library

Work details

Brick Lane by Monica Ali (2003)

  1. 80
    Small Island by Andrea Levy (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both these excellent novels examine the issues of immigration and assimilation in England, though the cultures and backgrounds are different.
  2. 70
    White Teeth by Zadie Smith (Booksloth)
  3. 10
    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (hbsweet)
  4. 10
    The Road Home by Rose Tremain (bergs47)
    bergs47: Immigration and assimilation in England, from the view of the immigrant although one is from Eastern Europe and the other from Asia
  5. 00
    The Boy with the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton by Sathnam Sanghera (KayCliff)

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» See also 220 mentions

English (104)  French (3)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (109)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
I'm normally a sucker for multi-culti, feminist, South Asian diaspora novels, but for some reason it took me a long time to get around to this one. It turned out to be a nice quick read, pushing all the appropriate postcolonial buttons, but without being too predictable. Ali clearly likes to give her characters plenty of time to develop, which is good, but does mean that when we are first introduced to them they tend to come across as rather crude stereotypes. Worthwhile, but not exactly life-changing. ( )
  thorold | Nov 25, 2014 |
The writing is gorgeous with vivid descriptions, but I couldn't get beyond the fifth page. ( )
  astasin | Sep 9, 2014 |
This feels like a modern classic and I'm not surprised it was made into a film. ( )
  oldstick | Aug 28, 2014 |

I very much enjoyed this portrait of a world that I have occasionally glimpsed via my Bangladeshi relatives; our protagonist, Nazneen, stuck in an arranged marriage and transported to Brick Lane in London at the age of 18, gradually finds her own way to gaining control of her own life, managing her relationships with husband and her lover - both fantasists in their different ways - and transcending the tensions within her own community and between it and its neighbours. Meanwhile the letters she gets from her sister back home become increasingly gut-wrenching. The ending isn't a completely happy one, but then, what ending is? ( )
  nwhyte | May 3, 2014 |
[Brick Lane] by [[Monica Ali]]

Nazneen, the heroine of [Brick Lane] was born in Bangladesh, and raised, by her saintly Muslim mother, to endure, to accept whatever fate brings to her. She moves to London after an arranged marriage to an older, and not especially attractive man. Throughout the book she struggles with her belief in fate and her desire to take some kind of control of her life.

I enjoyed this book because it gave me a window into the thoughts and dreams of a woman whose life is very different than my own. The book is told mostly from Nazneen’s standpoint, but partly with letters from her sister, Hasina. Hasina is very different than Nazneen, impulsive and full of life, catapulted from one disastrous situation to another.

As the stories unfold we learn that some of the lessons that Nazneen absorbed through her childhood were not, in fact, based on reality. We also learn about some of the intricacies of the Bangladeshi community in London before and after 9/11. ( )
  banjo123 | Jul 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Monica Aliprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Watanabe, KyokoDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Sternly, remorselessly, fate guides each of us; only at the beginning, when we're absorbed in details, in all sorts of nonsense, in ourselves, are we unaware of its harsh hand.' - Ivan Turgenev
'A man's character is his fate.' - Heraclitus
For Abba, with love
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An hour and forty-five minutes before Nazneen's life began - began as it would proceed for quite some time, that is to say uncertainly - her mother Rupban felt an iron fist squeeze her belly.
Chanu stopped and looked in a shop window.'Seventy five pounds for that little bag. You couldn't fit even one book into it.'
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743243315, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Carrying into her adult years a sense of fatalism instilled during her hardscrabble birth, Nazneen finds herself married off to a man twice her age and moved to London, where she begins to wonder if she has a say in her own destiny.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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