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Greetings from Bury Park: Race. Religion. Rock 'n' Roll [Paperback]

Sarfraz Manzoor
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jun 2008
Sarfraz Manzoor was two years old when his family emigrated from Pakistan to join his father in Bury Park, Luton. His teenage years were a constant battle to reconcile being both British and Muslim. But when his best friend introduced him to Bruce Springsteen, his life changed for ever. In this affectionate and timely memoir, Manzoor retraces his journey from the frustrations of his childhood to his reaction to the tragedies of 9/11 and 7/7. Original, darkly tender and wryly amusing, this is an inspiring tribute to the power of music to transcend race and religion and a moving account of a relationship between father and son.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (16 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747592942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747592945
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Beautiful and moving ... a book to make you believe that we are all more alike than we know' Tony Parsons 'While the book is about many things - the impact of multi-culturalism, a coming-of-age story and a Nick Hornby-style documentation of musical obsession - it is Manzoor's relationship with his father that lies at its heart' Independent 'Every detail rings so true that you feel you have been offered a seat in his living-room. Suffusing all this is Manzoor's warm, humane, unsensational voice: it makes you want to extend the hand of friendship to him' Sunday Telegraph 'A small wonder - the end result is genuinely moving rites-of-passage in which pop music plays an essential role' Mojo

About the Author

Sarfraz Manzoor is a writer, broadcaster and documentary maker. He has written and presented documentaries for BBC 2, Radio 4 and Radio 2. Prior to his broadcasting career, Sarfraz Manzoor was a deputy commissioning editor at Channel 4, and before that spent 5 years as producer and reporter on Channel 4 News. His written work as appeared in publications as diverse as the Guardian, Daily Mail, Marie Claire, the Independent, the Observer, Uncut, Spectator, Prospect and New Statesman.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, engaging, touching 9 April 2009
By John
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a huge Springsteen fan for over 30 years I came to the book expecting fan worship; what I didn't expect was a warm and engaging book about Father-Son relationships.

I will pass the book to my son - maybe it will explain some things to him.

And the Springsteen bits were very very good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book and enjoy to read 11 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book! brilliant, honest and entertaining of a life outline by a mixture of Eastern and Western values.
I completed this book in 2 nights and shared the story to some of my friends. I will pass it to them so they can enjoy it as well as I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarfras Rules. 25 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book chronicles the life of a second generation Pakistani boy living in Luton,growing up and escaping the confines of family restrictions and expectations, by going to university in Manchester.His epiphany was being introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen.He has since found fame as a Gaurdian writer and Culture Show contributor.The book stops short of his recent adventures ,but his one man show,"Bruce Rules"brings you right up to date.I saw him at this year's Fringe festival in Edinburgh,and it was a very pleasant and entertaining hour.Catch him if you can.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and Imaginative... 22 July 2007
Format:Paperback
This book was a breath of fresh air; so much so that I found it difficult to put it down! It was elegantly written with great charm and sophistication. One can actually place themselves in the scene of the events and therefore empathise with the author.

I completed this book in little over a night and felt somewhat sad to file it away in my bookcase. Would definitely recommend to anyone, particularly those whose parents came to the UK in the 60s and 70s, as we often forget how difficult life was for that generation and how easy, we, the second generation, have had it in comparison. It certainly allowed me to respect my parents' generation and relate to them on a whole new level.

Sarfraz - well done on such a fantastic piece of work. I look forward to many more literary masterpieces from you in the coming years.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but slighlty repetitive 27 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a good book, I found myself laughing out loud at various points and Manzoor is a talented writer. He frequently teases out hypocrises and creates a vivid picture of his somewhat miserable existence in Luton in the 1980s. However, I only give the book 4*s because there are many events or incidents that Manzoor repeats - for instance, his friend and he visit the Twin Towers in New York and this incident is covered twice. Given that the book is fairly short as it is I felt this was unnecessary. I enjoyed his reflections on Mr Springsteen though!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem! 13 July 2007
By Shabana
Format:Paperback
At a time when young Muslim men are only mentioned in the media in relation to terrorism, it is extremely refreshing to hear the story of a young Muslim man who doesn't fulfil that stereotype. Manzoor's tale of growing up in Luton uses warmth and humour to describe his struggle to balance the demands of family life and culture with his personal hopes and dreams. He articulates with great honesty and accuracy the difficult relationship he had with his father and the experiences and pressures faced by second generation British Muslims.

The antidote to the trials and tribulations in Manzoor's home life arrives in the form of Bruce Springsteen and the enthusiasm with which he conveys this life changing discovery is inspiring to say the least. Springsteen's music acts as a healing balm, offering understanding and solace to a young man struggling to reconcile the expectations of his father with his ambitions. Islam and Springsteen may make an unlikely pairing, but Manzoor proves that, in his heart at least, they can sit alongside one another in harmony.

Manzoor's writing takes the reader on a journey that covers the entire emotional spectrum and leaves one feeling content in the knowledge that his battles, and indeed his father's battles before him to create a better life, were worth the pain and effort. Reading this book reminded me of my own relationship with my family and the journey that my parents have made from their homeland. It also made me feel less alone with my experience of being a second generation British Muslim.

This book won't only appeal to Muslims though. This is a story about growing up in an uninspiring English town, the complicated dynamics of family life, and the decisions and sacrifices one can make to influence the path that their life takes. Manzoor is certainly one home-grown Muslim we should be proud of.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and Entertaining 26 July 2007
By Mala
Format:Paperback
Sarfraz Manzoor's autobiographical account of life as British Muslim Pakistani growing up in Luton in the 70s/80s. This book is both an enlightening and accurate portrayal of life as a second generation Brit, and touches upon topics you may have thought about in the privacy of your own mind, but never dared speak about out loud. It is thoroughly entertaining, you will literally laugh out loud. Though I should add a small caveat in that it does lack a sequantial storyline, but other than that - an excellent read :D
Buy your copy now!
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Format:Paperback
I liked this book for its simplicity, candour and humorous insights. I grew up in Cape Town and have enjoyed limited interaction with Asian communities. Having lived in Luton briefly a few years ago, this sojourn ignited an interest and an admiration for Asian culture, especially their food, family and religion. This book gave me sufficient background about a Muslim guy, who primarily wanted a British identity, as opposed to a Pakistani one. Our family migrated to the UK, yet the sacrifices his parents offered their children are sobering and inspiring to me.

Saf Manzoor is bravely honest about his family dynamics and his fears in making something of himself. Two things stand out for me, his humility and his ability to write his observations candidly. He has an eye for the 'not so obvious' that makes many of the anecdotes memorable. The book is a series or themes or essays that have their own beginning, middle and end which means there is overlapping of information (repetition) between chapters. He looks at Faith, Father/ Family, Marriage, the land of the Free...and the Boss to name a few.

I feel I understand Saf's experience (through his good, clear, simple writing) and this helps me to remove some stereotypes and a layer of prejudice that I shamefully may still have. His chapter on Bruce Springsteen was rewarding for me in that I thought I loved music and some artists in particular, but never to the obsessive stages that he took it. For his troubles and effort, I see he pushed his interest to the limits and learnt lots from it. I admire that in him, especially since his peers thought it strange. Forging a friendship with a mate for life and then introducing his sister to Bruce, shows that he did inspire others by being true to his love for Springsteen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarfraz Manzoor, you rock!
Fantastic book (bought second hand in mint condition). Love this writer almost as much as Bruce Springsteen, which is no mean feat.
Published 8 months ago by rollo
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I had seen this writer speak at the Hay Festival and was inspired to read his book. It was a fascinating insight into his life and influences.
Published 9 months ago by stephanies40
4.0 out of 5 stars Book review
I found this an enjoyable read - especially if you like Bruce Springsteen! Well written, amusing and poignant in parts.
Published 11 months ago by A E WILSON
5.0 out of 5 stars good reading
loved this book as simply explains exactly how people in the area reside. My knowing the area made it interesting.
Published 13 months ago by murie allsop
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute read but not mind blowing
I love books like this so when I read the blurb I had to buy it. It was just ok. I wasn't moved, I wasn't awed and I wasn't inspired and I couldn't wait to finish it. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Deborah Cochrane
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts.
Having lived in an area close to Bury Park, I was interested how it would be portrayed in the book. I was a little disappointed that apart from the reference to the Father wanting... Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2011 by jonesy
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute must.
Sarfraz is a absolute legend and inspiration for all minority groups. Absolutely love the book and completely bang on. Read more
Published on 23 Dec 2007 by 2tellyou
4.0 out of 5 stars humorously written
Sarfraz
A great book which captures so many of my own experiences of family life especially the day to day things. Read more
Published on 21 Sep 2007 by Adeela Shafi
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Anyone who is a music fan will most likely have one band that stands out most for them, that provides a soundtrack for their life, and for Sarfraz this is Bruce Springsteen. Read more
Published on 21 Aug 2007 by K. Birch
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