Mary's Reviews > Brick Lane

Brick Lane by Monica Ali
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really liked it

This is a well-told story about Bangladeshi immigrants to England, told from the point of view of a woman, Nazneen, who entered into an arranged marriage with an older man who had been in London for a while. Three lines in the book captures the sense of belonging or lack of belonging, that is the main takeaway: And most of all she thought of what he (Karim, a politically active young man, son of Bangladeshi immigrants) had that she and Hasina (her sister back in Bangladesh) and Chanu (Nazneen's husband) sought but could not find. The thing that he had and inhabited so easily. A place in the world.

There is also attention to the trials of marriage, perhaps particularly an arranged one, to a basically good but ineffective, flawed man: Nazneen heard Chanu suppress a belch. She wanted to go over to him and stroke his forehead. She wanted to get up from the table and walk out of the door and never see him again.

Humor is low key and wry: "The cigarette." It had rolled from the table and was burning on the green-and-purple rug. "Shit. Your rug is spoiled." "I don't know, said Nazneen. " if a rug is already green and purple, it is very hard to say that it is spoiled." And: Three dealers were arrested. Job opportunities opened up.

I don't know Brick Lane in London, but there is a sense that this does a good job of capturing Bangladeshi immigrant life there. The story towards the end goes on too long, but good to say, Nazneen has built a lot of confidence, and the future looks good for her.
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Reading Progress

December 3, 2014 – Started Reading
December 3, 2014 – Shelved
December 10, 2014 – Finished Reading

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