For some, such as Teresa, a beautiful, dreamy village girl, it is a place from which to escape; for others - the dysfunctional Potts family - it is a way ...more
Luckily, that’s not the case here. Monica Ali did not want to be locked writing endless ‘sari & curry’ family sagas. She broke free and did something very brave, that is, completely departed from her debut.
‘Azuelejo Blue’ is more of a ...more
This proves, once again, awards never guarantee a good read ...more
Regardless, I thought this was a lovely book. Quick read. I stumbled over the first chapter simply because I didn't have a good idea as to what was going on (it took place in the present lapsed to the past and returned to the present).
Being from a small rural town, I could relate to all the cha ...more
It was difficult to get into the first few chapters--the voices were so dissonant and the characters didn't seem connected i ...more
So, what wen ...more
The premise for this novel was interesting - a set of short stories/novellas about characters residing in the same village in the Alentejo region in Portugal.
And it would've been a good idea, if the novelist knew anything beyond the basics of Portuguese culture, i.e. Sumol and Benfica. But even if she'd done all of her homework, most of the characters weren't really fleshed out, while some were fleshed out too much - one chapter might run to a dozen pages ...more
You've got the quiet thoughts of a farmer, an overweight cafe owner, a young, pretty girl who dreams of being a governess in London.
Perhaps one of the most ironic things in this novel is that the people living in the village dream of escaping to bigger and better things, while people from the city come here to escape and find ...more
One would think the locals c ...more
the structure of this novel is kind of flawed. it should have never been a novel strung together by such a weak, pointless plot thread. it should have been a collection of short stories, each with its own title, sharing only the sad, moving theme of nuanced, unbearable human conditions, and the landscape where the stories take place.
The story featuring Stanton and the Potts family first appeared in the New Yorker as a short story ...more
Monica Ali's Brick Lane (***1/2 Nov/Dec 2003), about Muslim immigrants in London's East End, met with critical acclaim and was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Her sophomore effort strays from the style and themes of Brick Lane but not necessarily for the better. About consciousness, worldview, culture, belonging, and identity, Alentejo Blue offers a few shining portraits of lost souls: Eileen, a tourist trapped in a dead marriage, and Teresa, a young woman hoping to work as an au pair in Lon...more
There isn't much to say about this book. In any case I think I made the right decision of reading this book first and saving Brick Lane for later.
So basically the book is constructed by little stories here and there about people living or spending sometime in Mamarrosa (or it's whereabouts), a small town in the Portuguese region of Alentejo. I think this book had a lot of potential, I liked Ali's writing style but it all felt really confusing. It's interesting that there are lots of changes ...more
Fiction A-Z 'Book A': ...more
The characters are interesting and diverse, some you like some you don’t but their stories weave together all coming together at the end. I also finished On Beauty recently which to me is a similar type of book in that it focuses on the characters rather than intricate plots and stories. The difference wi ...more
It was really a book about people and more like a collection of miniature stories told from different people, woven together seamlessly. The characters were diverse, dynamic, completely believable, and likeable. It definitely has a Virginia Woolf vibe, though I'd sta ...more
This story is set in Portugal and looks at life from the point of view of a number of residents and visitors to a small village there. Some are native Portuguese, others are long-term residents from England, and still others are tourists. There is a range of ages as well from ten up through eighty-four. Some are reminiscing about the past, some living in the present, and others looking to the future. As they deal with the world as its changes come to them ...more
She lives in South London with her husband, Simon Torrance, a management consultant. They have two children, Felix (born 1999) and ...more