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Salaam Brick Lane: A Year in the New East End Hardcover – 11 Apr 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; First Edition edition (11 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719561574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719561573
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 24.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 800,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Well-written without mawkish pieties. (Saga Magazine)

'Charming, brilliant, affectionate and quietly impassioned . . . he lets the stories speak for themselves . . . [He has a] deft way with dialogue . . . a wonderful book . . . balanced, humane and life-affirming. I hope it sells out faster than cases of Chalky's "Coat de Roen"' (Kevin Rushby, Guardian)

'Tarquin Hall is right at the heart of what he writes about . . . Hall's new friends spring brilliantly to life off the page . . . it's hard to imagine a more moving or more telling record of lives on the edge' (Caroline Gascoigne, Sunday Times)

Amused and amusing, this is a refreshing addition to the accounts being offered of the area. (Stratford Recorder)

Fascinating and funny (Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable & Faversham Focu)

What started out as a series of entertaining character sketches turns into an instructive investigation of "Englishness" . . . While Hall does not sidestep the problems raised by immigration, his forthright and funny book is a timely reminder of the revitalising effect "foreigners" have had on the mongrel race that proudly describes itself as "the English". (Peter Parker, Daily Telegraph)

I was absolutely riveted. It's funny, enlightening and very moving - but moving in a quiet, understated, English way, without any mawkish sentimentality. It has given me lots of new insights into the complexities and nuances of 'acculturation', and I'm recommending it to all my friends just because it's such a good read. (Kate Fox, author of Watching the English)

Powerful (Kent Messenger)

He has a fine ear for the myriad speech patterns of the East End's varied inhabitants . . . pertinent and unusually insightful views on the whole "illegal immigrant" issue . . . gripping (Daily Mail)

A remarkable cross-section of British society . . . Hall's sympathetic, anecdotal approach is a fine counter to the appalling racism of much current tabloid journalism . . . This is a fine and eloquent book. (What's On UK)

This is a beautifully written book about a world we ignore except when it makes tabloid headlines. (American)

In this entertaining account of a year living on Brick Lane in London's East End, Hall cannily plays the bewildered public schoolboy to a range of different characters. (Times Literary Supplement)

Such a light, playful book and yet with a compelling tow which takes you into the myriad realities of life in the East End of London. (Yasmin Alibhai-Brown)

'Entertaining' (Bookseller)

Fascinating and funny (Sunday Times)

'He fleshes out figures that are usually little more than symbols for political viewpoints, and the result is a Dickensian tale of the modern underclass that serves as an answer to negative immigration issues' (Guardian)

'A thought-provoking read . . . fascinating insights into fractured lives. And Hall's affectionate portrayals of eccentric acquaintances enhance this touching portrait no end' (Metro)

'Tender and harrowing' (The Times)

'He brings a sharp eye and a dry humour to his descriptions' (Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times)

'Hall has produced an inclusive, insider's portrait of Brick Lane...rich and humane enough to hold its own' - Laurence Phelan (Independent on Sunday)

'Just like a Dickens novel, Salaam Brick Lane features comic characters, tear-jerking melodrama, plenty of roguery and an overarching romantic plot in which a plucky young couple overcome familial disapproval' - John Dugdale (Guardian)

'This is an involving and rather heartening book full of carefully observed characters...Tarquin...is superb on multiculturalism' - Phil Baker (The Sunday Times)

'A unique take on the tales of asylum seekers, Bangladeshi families fearing a loss of culture and a search for the real East Enders who, it turns out ironically, are simply immigrants from years gone by.' (Derby Evening Telegraph, Simon Burch)

'A gem of a book that reveals a hidden world lying right on our doorstep. As the stories unfold, so does our appreciation for Tarquin Hall's acute eye and for the gentle power of his narrative' (Saira Shah, writer and broadcaster)

'Salaam Brick Lane is a compelling journey of discovery by an outsider in his own city and offers an explicit glimpse of this quarter of London' (Traveller)

Book Description

A gritty, hilarious and often touching memoir of a year spent living in the immigrant melting pot of London's East End.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've just read this book in a sitting and it's absolutely brilliant.
Forget Monica Ali, Salaam Brick Lane takes you into the real East End
of today. Every page is filled with local characters and their stories,
which all combine to paint an intimate portrait of an extraordinary place
that I have visited but never known. In parts it's hilarious; in others deeply
touching. Throughout it's beautifully written. Congratulations to
Tarquin Hall on writing a fantastic book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure when someone gave me this book a few days ago for my birthday and am glad to say I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a sneaky book that ambushes your expectations, a slow-burn that ignites into a breathless page-turner.

Once I was half-way through (which took 3 or 4 days) I couldn't put it down and I think the reason for that is that the stories are just so damn good, the people of Banglatown come alive in a huge variety of settings - which is what the East End is about, I guess: human variety, cultural diversity, the flux in the English melting pot, the rumble from the underbelly.

What keeps you going, too, in reading this book isn't any OBVIOUS drama; it's the weave, the texture, the awesome complications of lives that are sad, touching, clever, generous, dangerous, desparate, serious, philosophical. In short this is a book about everyone of us, whatever our racial or cultural background, about how urban society is now (thanks to a shrinking planet) more of a fast boiling soup than most of us care to admit.

And Tarquin Hall shows that it was always like this in the genetic lab of the East End, that so-called Englishness is more mongrel than we've ever allowed ourselves to imagine. If , dear citizen, you want to understand the history and anthropology of immigration, the sociology of cultural regeneration, this book is probably a modern must, a landmark and a touchstone all explosively tucked away between two hardback covers. Buy this first edition as an investment, and be quick about it. Harry Potter, watch out - the new Orwell is on your back.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the most candid accounts of modern day life in the East End. Tarquin's account of his time on Brick Lane, and the plethora of characters that inhabit the street are rich and diverse. From asylum seekers to drug addicts; each story is a treasure. Being a resident of one of the streets coming off Brick Lane, I can identify with his accurate betrayal of the local people. Tarquin hasn't relied on naff cliché and stereotypes to write an interesting book and unlike so many books (one with a similar name!); there is no hyperbole or gratuitous exaggeration. Worthy of much praise!
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By A Customer on 2 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
A book that genuinely deserves the overused epithets 'funny and touching', this is a warm, wry, human look at the glorious muddle, mess and squalor of one corner of ethnic London. In the wake of the recent bombings, it was salutary to read a book that so treasured our diversity without even a nanonsecond of pomposity or preachiness. This is the London I know and love. I learnt a lot about the Bangladeshi community, and the book also offered a subtle, unfussy history of East End immigrants that set the sour The Likes of Us in proper witty perspective. Miles better than Monica Ali.
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Format: Hardcover
I've just finished reading this fantastic book and it really did represent the true East End of London. The characters that Tarquin Hall meets during his stay in Brick Lane are colourful, fascinating and very much like people I've come across in my own life. Mr Ali's qoutes are priceless.
Its a very honest and vivid account of a year in Brick Lane and I recommend this book to anyone, particularly Bangladeshi's, who are interested in reading an outsider's perspective of the cultural melting pot that is the East End. I've lived in the East End myself on and off in the last few years and I'm glad to be out of there - I'm back in the countryside of West Sussex now - but I just had to read someone else's account of life in one of the most deprived and delapidated areas in the UK.
In the end, I was so glad that a certain person had his/her outcome (I won't spoil it by saying who/what).
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By A Customer on 5 Oct. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. It's funny, packed full of fascinating history and gives a fascinating insight into the East End of London. I studied in London but never really got to know this part of the city. Now I feel like I know it inside out. Tarquin Hall deserves to be recognised as a first rate writer.
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By A Customer on 3 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Taquin Hall has really brought an area of London alive through its diverse people and has put paid to the myth that Brick Lane is the monochrome territory of Monica Ali. There is humour as well as much humanity and pathos in the excellent writing, so that the immigrant community are not, in the hands of the author, an invisible people, but folk with lives and feelings. It is not just an enlightening, but a thoroughly enjoyable read. I would give this book five stars but for the tendency of the author to see himself somehow as seperate from the people he is decribing. It has that "superior white man in foreign territory" feel to it and jars every so often because of it.
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