[ Prime ] Brick Lane Author Monica Ali – Andy-palmer.co.uk


  • Paperback
  • 432 pages
  • Brick Lane
  • Monica Ali
  • English
  • 18 October 2018
  • 0743243315

10 thoughts on “Brick Lane

  1. says:

    Could it take me longer to read a book I made myself read this book everyday so I could be done with it and properly hate it.Look at what the NY Review of Books said Ali succeeds brilliantly in presenting the besieged humanity of people living hard, little known lives on the margins of a rich, self absorbed society WHO IS THIS CRAZY NUT You need to read a book like Brick Lane to understand besieged humanity or what it s like to live a hard, little known life The protaganist moves around Could it take me longer to read a book I made myself read this book everyday so I could be done with it and properly hate it.Look at what the NY Review of Books said Ali succeeds brilliantly in presenting the besieged humanity of people living hard, little known lives on the margins of a rich, self absorbed society WHO IS THIS CRAZY NUT You need to read a book like Brick Lane to understand besieged humanity or what it s like to live a hard, little known life The protaganist moves around in the book like she s had a lobotomy It wasn t until page 152, I believe, when Nazneen giggles FINALLY, the woman shows a sign of life Her senses are completely dulled Don t buy into the crap about what it must be like to live a suppressed oppressed life as a Muslim woman That s not what s going on Compare Nazneen s character to that of her sister, aunt, and friends It s a wonder that lifeless Nazneen even moves into an affair with a younger man The most ridiculous part and because of that, maybe the most enjoyable of Nazneen s story is when she stops this evil money lender Mafia like woman in the story by asking her to swear on the Qu ran Really, is that all it took This woman is an interest charging money lender which, apparently, is a big NO NO as a Muslim who runs a religious school for girls and raises her sons to be repo man thugs but she s afraid to swear on the Qu ran because of an accounting discrepancy Score one for Nazneen and her growing independence OK, to be fair, Nazneen is supposed to be a woman who is passive Her own mother left Nazneen s entrance into the world up to Fate and that fatalism is what she was raised on But how she moved from that passivity into an affair with a younger man Kind of muddy And her decision to stand up to her husband and stay in the UK with the kids Little murky But why should I nitpick Who knows why we do anything in this world Back to being unfair because I was so bored by this book If you read it, you ll actually end up sympathizing with her husband Chanu..seriously If you ve started reading the book, you will understand what I mean I know he s supposed to be some idiot windbag who talks like a bigshot at home but deals with the disappointed fragments of his dreams outside the home, but do we need 200 pages of his pathetic flaps to understand this And, if one could isolate the number of sentences or paragraphs that concerned the corns on his feet, could there be about 20 pages Is this the same brilliant book about things that matter that Ian Jack of Granta refers to People Puh leeze give me a break THE ONE REALLY GOOD THING ABOUT THIS BOOK is the story about Nazneen s sister She writes letters to her sister detailing her life in Dhaka The character Hasina is everything that Nazneen is not angry, sad, happy, determined, loving, and alive Her life is amazing The letters alone saved the book However, even this was ruined by Monica Ali Why did Hasina s letters need to be written in some strange broken English or literally translated Bengali If we can view Nazneen s life through grammatically correct English, why can t we understand Hasina in something gramatically correct Is this to emphasize her distance Whatever Weird and frustrating to read


  2. says:

    I don t know why they do it but they do it a lot on the title page it says Brick Lane A Novel And there I was expecting this oblong of printed material to be Brick Lane A New Kind of Vacuum Cleaner Anyway Other reviews would have you believe that this book is terrifically boring, beaten only for tediousness by Some Variations in the Major Groups of Plankton of the Kamchatka Peninsula Littoral by R.K Litkynshovskaya and P.I Podgorna Bialaczczka So why did I really enjoy this novel Could I don t know why they do it but they do it a lot on the title page it says Brick Lane A Novel And there I was expecting this oblong of printed material to be Brick Lane A New Kind of Vacuum Cleaner Anyway Other reviews would have you believe that this book is terrifically boring, beaten only for tediousness by Some Variations in the Major Groups of Plankton of the Kamchatka Peninsula Littoral by R.K Litkynshovskaya and P.I Podgorna Bialaczczka So why did I really enjoy this novel Could it be that after a while I accepted my fate in the same way our heroine accepts hers, and my heart, like hers, fluttered when the slightest thing out of the ordinary happened Or maybe I m a Samuel Beckett fan and don t realise it It s very true I do love the music of Steve Reich, which could never be described as dramatic, and indeed has often been compared to Some Variations in the Major Groups of Plankton of the Kamchatka Peninsula Littoral But really I think I prefer the company of Nazneen and her very aggravating husband Chanu over, say, Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal any day of the week Not to mention most of my work colleagues and family members Of course it may be true that should Monica Ali choose to write a graceful and compassionate novel about any of that rabble, I d be glued to that too


  3. says:

    That was not what I expected.Not that I can define very well what I did expect I am curious that Ali, after making a splash with this book and writing a fewnovels has pretty much disappeared.I supposed I imagined that this book would very strongly a novel of the New Labour era that by now would be well past it s best before date and that it would smell dated and stale It is dated in that I could see a novelist tackling the same topic might be angrier and there would not be minor touches That was not what I expected.Not that I can define very well what I did expect I am curious that Ali, after making a splash with this book and writing a fewnovels has pretty much disappeared.I supposed I imagined that this book would very strongly a novel of the New Labour era that by now would be well past it s best before date and that it would smell dated and stale It is dated in that I could see a novelist tackling the same topic might be angrier and there would not be minor touches of optimism like the estate getting a youth centre and the main character s flat finally getting some repairs, view spoiler possibly this modern version I imagine might tie up the Bangladesh and Tower Hamlets stories courtesy of the Bangladesh Awami League hide spoiler.What is this is, is a very close portrait of a woman over time, another review mentioned Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, well yes there is a connection, but that would be a spoiler and in terms of the drive of the story it is only a part of the main character s journey not a decisive and fatal hammer blow Ice Skating and Torvil Dean areimportant ultimately in this story My sense was that this is muchlike a version of The old wives tale, the contrasting lives of two sisters, the adventurous and beautiful Hasina, and her elder sister the dutiful and eager to please Nazneen The two are brought up in a village in Bangladesh, although at first view spoiler and that is significant, because this is an evolutionary novel, all about change over time hide spoiler Nazneen, who is married of to an older man and goes with him to London, hankers after that lost world of childhood, Ali is careful not to show us the village as a bucolic idyll Still it is what Nazneen knew.We learn of Hasina s story through the occasional letters that she sends Nazneen and this is used to advance the story by a few years at one stage.This novel is a great portrayal of London too not as a teeming, pigeon infested Metropolis with it s sewers full of looming Fatbergs, but as the tight world of a one bedroom flat later a two bedroom flat in a shabby council housing estate in Tower Hamlets, when we see Bishopsgate, Covent Garden or Buckingham Palace they are strange, alien places, other worlds in every sense.I felt also that aside from some jokes, that this was a Victorian novel, the main character is suspiciously reliable, it is mostly scrupulously chronological flashbacks are clear, there is no whiff of modernism, in literary terms this is a continuation of the novel as Dickens knew it, it is something like David Copperfield, very domestic, starting from the birth running from misery towards non misery with up s and downs on the way, the wicked Loan Shark an increasingly elderly Bengali woman with two dim sons as her enforcers, is a Dickensian grotesque as is Nazneen s hapless husband, overweight, with his corns and unheard thesis on white working class racism though Ali treats him fartenderly than Dickens would have, he is some of a Mr Micawber believing that something will come up , a promotion, a job, business opportunities his narrative arc is very view spoiler sorry for the spoiler hide spoiler similar too He does get to be the voice of truth and knowledge, despite being a ridiculous and often silly figure in the novel.And then there are jokes view spoiler ok, not particularly funny ones hide spoiler , Nazneen s husband works for Mr Dalloway but is never invited round to his house for the barbecue hosted by his wife, there is a Dr Azad, like his namesake in A Passage to India ashamed of his own house view spoiler this novel could have been calledA Passage to England it is very largely Forster s book turned inside out view spoiler but I am just showering you with spoilers here hide spoiler hide spoiler.Clothes are a nice feature of this novel both as character or character s statements of allegiance and outlook Certainly a good, solid novel, it may not turn your life upside down or keep you awake at night, but is very nicely done


  4. says:

    I would have to force myself to finish reading this book and quite frankly I don t want to Neither like nor care what happens to these characters.


  5. says:

    There s a good reason that Brick Lane was short listed for the Man Booker award, and was nominated for a whole slew of other prizes too It is just brilliant That doesn t mean that it is necessarily fun to read A 16 year old Bangladeshi girl is married off to a 40 year old guy in London, and goes there to start a new life in almost poverty No, not exactly a fun topic However, the descriptions are brilliant, and the story itself is mesmerizing The subplots are rich and believable You re There s a good reason that Brick Lane was short listed for the Man Booker award, and was nominated for a whole slew of other prizes too It is just brilliant That doesn t mean that it is necessarily fun to read A 16 year old Bangladeshi girl is married off to a 40 year old guy in London, and goes there to start a new life in almost poverty No, not exactly a fun topic However, the descriptions are brilliant, and the story itself is mesmerizing The subplots are rich and believable You really feel like you ve learned a lot about what it means to be a Blangladeshi immigrant to the UK.However, it does a lot , namely it urges the reader to think about The imposition of passivity on a woman, to the point of making passivity a virtue, something that certainly transcends cultures and limits self expectations a theme throughout the book is the main character being left to her Fate at birth The experience of any immigrant, and the complex attitudes that the immigrant experience generates both towards the new culture and the old The deplorable status of women in Bangladesh The wrenching realization that one is married to an idiot The nature of marriage itself The hypocrites that exist in any culture and religion very ironic that the shameless usurer in the book is named Mrs Islam The way that living in a specific slice of history influences one s opinions and valuesAlthough this book is rather long, the author probably needed the length to address her varied themes It s a serious book, but often hilarious It s uplifting, because it speaks of women s empowerment And it kindled a desire in me to learnabout Bangladesh and its history and perhaps go there some day


  6. says:

    I thought this book was really interesting as it gave an insight into being an immigrant in England and it also gave insights into life in Bangladesh Of course, Monica Ali has been scrutinised because she doesn t speak fluent Bangladeshi etc and I know nothing about the being an immigrant myself but I felt like the representation she gave felt really authentic I thought the characters were brilliant They were really interesting and I felt like nearly every one of them added to the story They I thought this book was really interesting as it gave an insight into being an immigrant in England and it also gave insights into life in Bangladesh Of course, Monica Ali has been scrutinised because she doesn t speak fluent Bangladeshi etc and I know nothing about the being an immigrant myself but I felt like the representation she gave felt really authentic I thought the characters were brilliant They were really interesting and I felt like nearly every one of them added to the story They weren t just devices to the main character, in fact, I would say Nazneen was sort of like a device for them to be portrayed Nazneen was a silent observer The amount of things she observed was unreal Even if a character didn t say much, Nazneen observed what they were doing physically and that gave us such an insight into characters I feel like Nazneen was the way she was because Ali wanted her that way I thought Nazneen s inner monologue was similar to that of a third person narration that sees all The story was kind of slow but for good reason Nothing thrilling or exciting happened and that s because it mainly focused on a family So because of that the pacing was sometimes unbearable but I can understand why I actually liked the ending a lot I think it ends with a bit of hope and maybe that s a bit of a cop out but I m a sucker for hopeful endings I would recommend this book to people who think that they ll enjoy it but just be aware it s quite slow I would probably read another book by Monica Ali


  7. says:

    This is not what I was expecting Don t ask me what I was expecting because it is not a definable quantity and defies explanation but when I bought this book on a whim because I liked the juxtaposition of white background and colourful printed letters, this was not it.Ali has created a book for those who love the microscopic and want a very detailed picture of a very limited section of space and time Hold on you might say, this book moves from 1985 and Nazneen s arrival in England all the way u This is not what I was expecting Don t ask me what I was expecting because it is not a definable quantity and defies explanation but when I bought this book on a whim because I liked the juxtaposition of white background and colourful printed letters, this was not it.Ali has created a book for those who love the microscopic and want a very detailed picture of a very limited section of space and time Hold on you might say, this book moves from 1985 and Nazneen s arrival in England all the way up to and beyond 9 11 so how can that be microscopic That s a good 15 years plus some Yes, it does cover this ground but it covers this ground in the same way that Bill and Ted covered all the major periods of history in their righteous phone box By jumping about a lot with no real overall picture But anyway it s obvious that Monica Ali did not set out to create a worldly overview Instead it is and was always about Nazneen And it is through the eyes of Nazneen and her sisters epistles that the story is told What s the story Primarily that life as a bride in an arranged marriage, on a council estate in a country where you don t speak the language and hold no currency I think I may have accidentally started quoting a Paul Simon song but never mind , is going to be largely devoid of joy And it is up to a point However the other side of the coin is that joy can be found in the most unpromising of places and under surprising circumstances and that just because your life is one way, does not mean it always has to be so The power of change lies within you Shocked Really, you re not I wasn t either but hey, it s part of the story so it has to go in the review.The cast of characters who are fully fleshed out are fairly limited Nazneen, her husband Chanu and their two daughters Shahana and Bibi are all well developed you might find them dull, but that s another issue Karim is an object of lust with eminently describable forearms and mercurial dress sense and the usurer Mrs Islam, friendly Razia, and unemotional Dr Azad are all quite memorable.For me, youngest daughter Bibi was the stand out character she is the reason for the third star She doesn t say anything well maybe a couple of lines but Monica Ali imbued her with a sense of personality purely through the descriptions of her physical stance, her hair chewing proclivities and her general watchfulness that gave me a greater sense of her motivations and personality than all of Chanu s chatter or Mrs Islam s outrageous theatrics If you want a big story where a lot happens then you need to walk away from this book immediately or be endlessly annoyed If you want a tiny but very detailed slice of life pie to chew on then bring a plate and a fork because you ve found it


  8. says:

    Monica Ali s prose is the literary equivalent of a curry with too many cardamom seeds.


  9. says:

    I desperately wanted to like this book Having lived the immigrant, foreigner, displaced person lifestyle for so long, I wanted this book to capture everything that it means to have lost links with my own personal history in the effort to fit into the culture that s welcomed me into it s monied bosom But Nazneen is not me She s a village girl without education andimportantly, the confidence education brings to a traveller navigating a foreign world.I snacked with her in the dead of night I desperately wanted to like this book Having lived the immigrant, foreigner, displaced person lifestyle for so long, I wanted this book to capture everything that it means to have lost links with my own personal history in the effort to fit into the culture that s welcomed me into it s monied bosom But Nazneen is not me She s a village girl without education andimportantly, the confidence education brings to a traveller navigating a foreign world.I snacked with her in the dead of night, desperate to fill a void opened when I left my home and all things familiar But when she wandered into meeting of revolutionaries looking for acceptance, I stood at the door and wondered whether she had left her brain at home And really, why are her sister s letters from home so poorly written I ve never seen a native speaker butcher her own language to the point of becoming incomprehensible as brutally as Hasina does Of course I worry about the poor girl struggling to face the fate she foolishly chose for herself, but must she do it in such a jarring manner I wish I hadn t bother to finish the book I knew how it was going to end early on, but like looking to see what happened in a car crash, I couldn t tear my eyes until the book was over.My time was wasted And that I resent most of all


  10. says:

    Rating 2 of fiveA long succession of standard tropes, cliched dialogue, and stock characters made somehow new and fresh by the fact that they re all of Indian descent.Frankly, I found it lazy and felt the decent author behind the blandness of the book should be given a D not passing, not failing, not much of anything at all I ll pass on this one s career Returned to my facility s library shelves, with a slight twinge of guilt for not putting it in the little free library just down the boa Rating 2 of fiveA long succession of standard tropes, cliched dialogue, and stock characters made somehow new and fresh by the fact that they re all of Indian descent.Frankly, I found it lazy and felt the decent author behind the blandness of the book should be given a D not passing, not failing, not much of anything at all I ll pass on this one s career Returned to my facility s library shelves, with a slight twinge of guilt for not putting it in the little free library just down the boardwalk instead


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Brick LaneA captivating read from a debut novelist, Brick Lane brings the immigrant milieu of East London to vibrant life With great poignancy, Ali illuminates a foreign world her well developed characters pull readers along on a deeply psychological, almost spiritual journey Through the eyes of two Bangladeshi sisters the plain Nazneen and the prettier Hasina we see the divergent paths of the contemporary descendants of an ancient culture Hasina elopes to a love marriage, and young Nazneen, in an arranged marriage, is pledged to a much older man living in London Ali s skillful narrative focuses on Nazneen s stifling life with her ineffectual husband, who keeps her imprisoned in a city housing project filled with immigrants in varying degrees of assimilation But Ali reveals a bittersweet tension between the two kinds of love Nazneen and her sister experience that which begins full and overflowing, only to slowly dissipate, and another which emerges like a surprise, growing unexpectedly over years of faithful commitment Both of these loves have their own pitfalls Hasina s passionate romance crumbles into domestic violence, and Nazneen s marriage never quite reaches a state of wedded blissThough comparisons have drawn between Ali and Zadie Smith, a better comparison might be made between this talented newcomer and the work of Amy Tan, who so deftly portrays the immigrant experience with empathy and joy


About the Author: Monica Ali

Monica Ali is a British writer of Bangladeshi origin She is the author of Brick Lane, her debut novel, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2003 Ali was voted Granta s Best of Young British Novelists on the basis of the unpublished manuscript.She lives in South London with her husband, Simon Torrance, a management consultant They have two children, Felix born 1999 and Shumi born 2001.She opposes the British government s attempt to introduce the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 She discusses this in her contribution to Free Expression Is No Offence, a collection of essays published by Penguin in 2005.