Brick Lane Brick Lane discussion


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Can anyone suggest other nonfiction in the Indian-expats-in-europe or Muslim-expats-in-europe category?

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message 1: by Rock (last edited Oct 27, 2011 12:02PM) (new) - added it

Rock Angel I'd always wondered when I see members of these cultures going about their business against such a unique backdrop. Such visuals are full of mystique to my untrained eyes. How do they see the world around them?

I hate navel gazing. This book "Brick Lane" is unlikely to become my fav when I barely survive the movie. Is there any extroverted writers out there? Or ppl who could spin a lively account?


message 2: by Elizabeth☮ (last edited Oct 28, 2011 03:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elizabeth☮ Read anything by Jhumpa Lahiri or White Teeth by zadie smith. Another quick read is Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee. Also

That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

These are works of fiction, but good authors and books.

Maybe something by Abraham Verghese.


message 3: by Lily (last edited Oct 28, 2011 04:30PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lily Brick Lane is fiction, of course. But, in non-fiction, you might try Ali Hirsi's Infidel. Ali is Somali-Dutch; Wiki cites her as an atheist, but she seems like an internal vocal critic of Islam.

Not so much European, but also consider the fiction of Assia Djebar, the French woman of letters who writes about Algiers. Don't overlook Salman Rushdie, especially his Midnight's Children, a classic story of the Partition.

On the non-fiction side, consider Instant City by Steve Inskeep, NPR journalist, about the Pakistani city of Karachi. Just finished it (new 10/11), and found it a fascinating look inside a world foreign to me. Inskeep has a fair bibliography section as well -- he cites some sociological studies in the main text.

I agree with Elizabeth about Zadie Smith if you want multiculturalism in Europe, particularly England. I believe Jhumpa Lahiri is talking more about Indian immigration to the U.S., but she is famous for her sensitivity to its nuances and tolls. Consider, too, the work of Nuruddin Farah:

A Neustadt prize recipient, he was "Born in Baidoa, Somalia, Farah is the son of a merchant father and a poet mother. As a child, he attended school at Kallafo in the Ogaden, and studied English, Arabic, and Amharic. In 1963, three years after Somalia's independence, Farah was forced to flee the Ogaden following serious border conflicts. For several years thereafter, he pursued a degree in philosophy, literature and sociology at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India."

A favorite series of books for me has been Naguib Mahfouz'a Cairo Trilogy, again, set in Egypt rather than Europe and also novels rather than non-fiction. You might also consider Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup. It is a book I would recommend to any high school senior or college undergraduate for thinking about values (and it's good reading for the rest of us) -- it contrasts third world and first world in a truly spectacular but quiet confrontation.

(There is some "navel gazing" sprinkled or infused in some of these -- I'll leave the culling to you.)


message 4: by Lily (last edited Oct 28, 2011 04:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lily P.S. -- do some comparisons with other readers here -- I stumbled across someone here a few days ago who seemed to be a rather awesome reader on Islam and Europe. I don't remember his name, but I did save the names of several books on his list, none of which I have named in the post above -- I haven't read any of them yet.


Lily I haven't read this one, but another fiction book to consider: The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai. Its reviews are sort of all over the place, but another reader that I personally respect liked it and brought it to my attention.


message 6: by Rock (new) - added it

Rock Angel I've picked up "Instant City" thank you.


message 7: by Rock (new) - added it

Rock Angel at long last, "Dear Zari: The Secret Lives of the Women of Afghanistan" seems to fit the bill


Lily Am well into Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by by Helen Simonson. It is a delightful little romance set in Sussex England between a British gentleman and a woman of Pakistani descent, each of whom have lost their spouses. Family and community complications abound.

Sylvia Nasar gives the book her thumbs up in a NYTBR article this past weekend. I am finding the story enchanting, but still I needs must mix it with something like Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar not to get drowned in rasmali or tired of rummy old tweeds and estate battles over almost priceless firearms.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/boo...


Lily Not a book, but The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Dev Patel is a delightful romance as retirees seek to take advantage of "outsourced" elder care from Britain to India. A good set of laughs, and some serious moments, too, whether doddery (well, hopefully not) oneself or have parents facing the transitions of aging and loss.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1412386/


message 10: by Rock (last edited Oct 23, 2012 11:32PM) (new) - added it

Rock Angel "Same Sun Here" provides a interesting angle, albeit fictitious:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10...

I also found "Lifting the Chaderi", another memoir by an Afghan woman, just like "Dear Zari" and the writing style is similar:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14...
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14...

I should thank you for all your enthusiastic suggestions, keep 'em coming :)


message 11: by Rock (new) - added it

Rock Angel "Enslaved: The New British Slavery"


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