Free Best Brick LaneAuthor Monica Ali –

Nazneen is the eldest of two girls, growing up in a village in Bangladesh Her younger sister Hasina runs away to marry the young man she is in love with, and not long after that, when she is eighteen, Nazneen is married to a man twenty years older than her and sent to live with him in London.Her husband, Chanu, is kind and very talkative They live in a dingy flat on an estate where she makes friends with some other Bangladeshi women Her world is narrow and small, consisting of the flat and Brick Lane, where she walks one step behind her husband She is not encouraged to learn English, or even leave the estate But gradually she movesandinto the world outside, though all that she knows is what Chanu tells her and he is an educated man , as he is constantly saying They have three children, two girls after the first little boy dies, and some twelve years after she arrived in England she is swept up in an affair with a young man, Karim Slowly, so slowly, she begins to speak for herself, but always there is this need to be a good, dutiful wife To cut the skin around the corns on her husband s feet, to cook and keep the flat tidy, to be Chanu s audience as he lectures, to watch as his plans and ambitions fall flat one by one.The story is told from Nazneen s perspective, sliced through with letters from her sister in Dhaka, whose story is easilytragic Nazneen, quiet and unknowledgable, is like a blank canvass for the opinions and impressions of others When she asks a direct question, rarely is it answered We see her world, small as it is though at times shaken by greater deeds like nine eleven , through her watchful, patient eyes Many things are shown rather than told, making the real situation easily discernible and very rich and layered.It is beautifully, skilfully written A bit slow maybe, but with great impact I can t deny that it didn t affect me, and bring me down a bit at times The story slips into a secret place, shines a light on a place generally ignored and dismissed and undervalued the housewife s domain and life The politics, the aspirations, the hatred against Muslims, the clash of cultures and struggle to assimilate without abandoning your own culture, it s all there But through it all there is strength in these women, and determination The struggle Nazneen goes through, with her own conscience, her own desires and wants so long put aside, her fondness for the often revolting but not cruel, no, he never beats her Chanu a surprisingly sympathetic character, in that it s easy to feel sorry for him , while gang wars and drug abuse and abusive husbands play out in both England and Bangladesh, all creates a vivid portrayal of an immigrant experience common to London, Paris, Sydney, Toronto Relevant, topical, at times heartarchingly sad, Brick Lane is like Nazneen, watching silently, presenting a story without spoken judgement, biding its time, and at the end, so very very rewarding. 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. A 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 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. Monica Ali s prose is the literary equivalent of a curry with too many cardamom seeds. 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. 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 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. 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. 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.