6 journalers for this copy...
I have to give this a conditional thumbs up; it’s a very good book...but. BL is a brilliant social commentary about Bangladeshis (any immigrant/cultural group?) living in modern Britain, and specifically women, trying to reconcile their traditions with the ‘modern’ ways of their hosts and their own children. Nazneen rebels against her lack of freedom in an arranged marriage, first in her thoughts, and then deeds. It’s the growing recognition of her strengths and choices (the love story is secondary for me) that is the main theme running through the novel, and she eventually breaks away and leaves the village behind. All good stuff so far. But, I felt very sorry for Karim, and particular Chanu, the cuckolded husband. The men are shown as less sympathetic, and ultimately unfulfilled characters, foolishly making plans and chasing dreams; but no less victims of their culture & circumstances than the women?
Of Karim’s wide-eyed idealism, Chanu says, “The thing about getting older is that you don’t need everything to be possible any more, you just need some things to be certain.”
Last, but not least, how could Monica Ali resist the temptation not to make the awful Mrs Islam suffer more, which is at odds with the swift brutal justice in her home country. Maybe her pain is waiting for her in the next life?
Released on Tuesday, May 04, 2004
at to another bookcrosser
in n/a, n/a Controlled Releases.
Posted to goatgrrl in Canada, going by 'surface' mail (whatever that means), so will probably go via husky & sledge across the arctic and take 6 months! What a cheapskate I am ;-)
Thanks very much, BookGroupMan
, for sending Brick Lane
and A Fool's Alphabet
(a bonus book!) by airmail -- both books arrived yesterday, and I was thrilled to receive them. I've added both to the top of my burgeoning TBR pile, and will let you know what I think when I've read them. Thanks again -- it's been delightful corresponding with you. Please feel free to let me know any time you see something on my shelf you'd like to read :^).
This book has been reserved for crazy-book-lady
in Toronto, to whom I'll be mailing it just as soon as I've finished!
went travelling with me this weekend -- from Vancouver to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory (see photo at left -- that's her, propped up at the bottom of the "u" in "Yukon"...!). I enjoyed this book very much, and can't remember feeling this attached to a fictional family in quite some time. I found both Nazneen, the protagonist, and Chanu, her older husband, to be entirely sympathetic characters, and I appreciated the glimpse Brick Lane
provided into the interior lives of a Bengali-English family, trying to find their way in a culture so at odds with their own. No doubt my fascination is partly voyeuristic -- a literal "peeking behind the veil" at hidden faces and lives to which I've had so little exposure (I found myself looking differently today at a woman on the commuter train platform wearing a hijab...). But the overall feeling I'm left with is that underneath even profound cultural differences, the fundamental struggles of this life are surprisingly constant: the love/hate of family, sexual fidelity, the struggle to get ahead financially and the circuitous journey Home -- wherever that is. A wonderful read -- thanks so much, BookGroupMan, for sharing it with me.
Off to crazy-book-lady in Toronto next ...!
This book will be off in tomorrow's mail (June 2, 2004) to crazy-book-lady in Toronto. (At left: the view from the porch of my motel room in Atlin, British Columbia -- two hours south of Whitehorse -- where I read most of Brick Lane
Arrived today. Thanks so much goatgrrl!
This book has now been in four Canadian provinces, and one territory. When it arrived in Ontario in June I decided to save it for my holiday reading in August when we were to go out west to visit my family. On the flight to Saskatchewan I finished two other books that I had on the go, and started reading Brick Lane. (The picture is of the river and part of the downtown skyline in Saskatoon. On the riverbank you can see the tents where the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival takes place.)
From Saskatoon, the book travelled with us to do some hiking in Cypress Hills Interprovincial park, in the southwest corner of the province. We actually stayed in a B&B in a town on the Alberta side of the park. I took the book along on an amazing hike which is part of the Trans-Canada Trail. Here is the book on top of the marker at the trailhead.
The hike took us up to a cliff, made of conglomerate rock, overlooking the park. A spectacular view! Definitely not your stereotypical prairie scenery!
After a brief stop back in Saskatoon, we headed north (basically to the very centre of the province) to stay at my parent's cabin, where I finally finished the book. The picture is of the lake at sunset. There is nothing like a Saskatchewan sunset!
So enough reminiscing about my holiday...I did enjoy the book, though I can't really articulate why I felt that it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I found Nazneen's affair with Karim to be extremely selfish, so my sympathy for her character waned considerably at that point. The incorporation of world events into the story was interesting. It is quite an impressive first novel.
Thanks for sharing this with me goatgrrl. Brick Lane is now ready to resume its travels!
This book is currently on its way to sally906 in Australia. Enjoy!
Crazy book lady saw this on my wish list and asked if I would like it - wanting nothing in return she sent it to me - thank you so much - when I have read it I will do the same :)
A very gentle read of a woman who would not let life push her under.
It is time for the book to resume it adventures - and is off to another bookcrosser as a surprise.
Journal Entry 15
Jamaca Blue Coffee Shop in Casuarina NT Australia, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Friday, February 11, 2005
Released 14 yrs ago (2/11/2005 UTC) at Jamaca Blue Coffee Shop in Casuarina NT Australia, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Am Passing on to AmberC
received from sally906 at our first mini-meetup. the first of many, i hope.
visitors to Darwin are always welcome to join us
a quiet story of desperation. i felt that both Chanu and Nanzeen were lost in their world.
it is time for this book to continue it's journey
Journal Entry 18
Australia Post in Fellow Bookcrosser, A Book Relay -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, June 12, 2005
Released 14 yrs ago (6/12/2005 UTC) at Australia Post in Fellow Bookcrosser, A Book Relay -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
on it's way to crimson-tide.
Caught safely today in my post box as part of the "Books for Aussies" BookRelay. Thanks amberC.