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Brick Lane Paperback – 23 Oct 2007
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"Ali has an impressive command of her story, but her real gift is in the richness of the lives she has created, populating Nazneen's London with a very entertaining cast of comic characters" (The Times)
"I was totally gripped by Brick Lane. A brilliant evocation of sensuality which might occur anywhere" (Daily Telegraph)
"Written with a wisdom and skill that few authors attain in a lifetime" (The Sunday Times)
"Comedy and poignancy abound... Brick Lane is a wonderful debut" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Brick Lane has everything: richly complex characters, a gripping story and it's funny too" (Observer)
The film tie-in of one of the novels of the decade.See all Product description
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If it was a struggle to start, it was certainly a struggle to finish. I don't usually struggle through books; my feeling is there are too many books in the world to bother struggling through one you're not enjoying, but as it was for my book club, I felt obliged to see it through to the end.
I've given it two stars as it is very well written (except for the letters from the sister: why were they in there?). If I was rating just for the story, it'd get only one star.
Nazneen has no personality or character as far as we can see. Chanu is better developed as a character, although I found his sudden rages towards his eldest daughter - Shahana - out of character. Why the aggression?
The letters from the Nazneen's sister I just couldn't fathom; either the terrible broken English (why were they in English? Nazneen couldn't read or write English, broken or otherwise) or why they were added in the first place.
The affair with Karim didn't seem to begin or end; it fizzled in, then it fizzled out.
The only bit that really moved me in any way was when Nazneen told Chanu she wasn't going to Bangladesh with him.
The other bit that really stands out was the singing and dancing to Lulu bit. I have never read anything so excruciatingly cringeworthy. Terrible, really terrible.
One of my book club readers said he didn't get further than the first page. He was lucky. I wish I hadn't bothered with the other 400+ pages.
The characters are beautifully and subtly drawn so that they are very realistic and one can empathise with them. If you haven't read it yet i would do so very soon.
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