Salaam Brick Lane: A Year in the New East End Hardcover – 11 Apr 2005
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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)
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)
A gritty, hilarious and often touching memoir of a year spent living in the immigrant melting pot of London's East End.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.Read more ›
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).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to buy three copies to finish this book because I kept recommending and lending it to friends. Read morePublished 4 months ago by C. Nelson
I enjoyed reading this. It is not fiction but an entertaining account of the author's year living on Brick Lane. Read morePublished 6 months ago by catsholiday
sensitive thoughtful and thought provoking.The knee jerk reaction of 'foreigner' needs reviewing.Too easy to lose the humanity in the stereotypePublished on 30 Oct. 2013 by zaphod
I've read almost all Tarquin Hall's books and I could not miss this one! It's a very interesting view of the London East End at the time , more than a mere description, a real... Read morePublished on 23 Sept. 2013 by Elena O.
If you're interested in Multiculturalism and London, look no further. Its a very interesting story of living in the east end of London, I believe during the late 1990s. Read morePublished on 22 April 2013 by Tate C
I read this book some two years ago with a book group. It was a popular book and is one of the few books that remains with me as a favourite. Read morePublished on 7 Aug. 2012 by Skip
Brilliant book - easy read with lots going on. The book arrived in lovely condition and very quickly. I also ordered a copy for my son who also enjoyed it. Read morePublished on 21 Jun. 2012 by Pat