87 of 101 people found the following review helpful
a very good novel,
This review is from: Brick Lane (Hardcover)
Over the past couple of months, there has been quite a bit of publicity surrounding Monica Ali, and how Granta named her as one of the UK's Top 20 young authors, even though at that time she had had nothing published.
Well, Granta were right, and Brick Lane more than lives up to the advance hype accorded to Ms. Ali. The Amazon review above gives some idea of the story, so I'll not repeat that. What it doesn't mention is that throughout the story of Nazneen's life in Tower Hamlets, there are letters from her sister Hasina, back in Bangladesh. These letters vividly portray (in broken English) daily life in Bangladesh, and the dangers of making a "love" marriage, reflected in the life of one of the characters in London.
Although the story of Nazneen's marriage to Chanu is a strong story, the real strengths of this novel are the characterisation and perceptive views of life in general. Particularly well-realised is Mrs. Islam, who turns into a very frightening old lady. Soon after Mrs. Islam's final personal appearance in the book, there is an unrelated moment of such pain, that it was almost unbearable to read. Writing such as that cannot be argued with.
The Amazon reviewer casts a little doubt on whether Monica Ali can follow this up, but that really does not matter. (A continuation would actually be very welcome.) This is a very, very good novel that gives voice to a London community rarely heard from, and also its international counterpart. If you have bothered to read this far, then don't hesitate any longer, buy this book today.
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Initial post: 6 May 2011 03:39:27 BDT
C. wright says:
The only problem/question is whether this "voice" is an accurate reflection of Bangladeshi people (either in Bangladesh or elsewhere). Of course no one person can be "representative" of a whole culture but, by calling the book "Brick lane" (a place often seen as the heartland of the British-Bangladeshi community), I feel the author is encouraging readers to see her characters as representative of Bangladesh. In doing so, not only does she fail to challenge stereotypes, in my view she has reinforced them
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