Saturday, 7 August 2010

Monica Ali: Brick Lane

Nazneen is a teenager forced into an arranged marriage with a man considerably older than her--a man whose expectations of life are so low that misery seems to stretch ahead for her. Fearfully leaving the sultry oppression of her Bangladeshi village, Nazneen finds herself cloistered in a small flat in a high-rise block in the East End of London. Because she speaks no English, she is obliged to depend totally on her husband. But it becomes apparent that, of the two, she is the real survivor: more able to deal with the ways of the world, and a better judge of the vagaries of human behaviour. She makes friends with another Asian girl, Razia, who is the conduit to her understanding of the unsettling ways of her new homeland.

This is an interesting story about Asian culture and life-style in a western country. Although for a western reader it is difficult to follow in places due to the cultural differences, the book provides a brilliant insight into the trials of an Asian and half-Asian family making their way in England.

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