Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

From the Amazon product description: After an arranged marriage to Chanu, a man twenty years older, Nazneen is taken to London, leaving her home and heart in the Bangladeshi village where she was born. Her new world is full of mysteries. How can she cross the road without being hit by a car (an operation akin to dodging raindrops in the monsoon)? What is the secret of her bullying neighbor Mrs. Islam? What is a Hell's Angel? And how must she comfort the naive and disillusioned Chanu? As a good Muslim girl, Nazneen struggles to not question why things happen. She submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes herself to her husband and daughters. Yet to her amazement, she begins an affair with a handsome young radical, and her erotic awakening throws her old certainties into chaos.

This was a delightful book. Nazneen is such a likable young wife and it is fascinating to see the world through her eyes. She is accepting of so many injustices as "Fate", simply her lot in life because she is a woman, a wife, an immigrant, and a mother. Just like in real life, when I see an Indian friend seem to sell herself short and put herself last, I felt a little frustration with Nazneen's inertia. But that is who she is and she gently makes important changes for her family. Although the bulk of the novel is set in a housing project outside of London, we see glimpses of life in India through her correspondence with her sister. That was one thing that made enjoying this as an audiobook somewhat tricky, when the viewpoint would change from one sister to another, it often took me a minute to figure that out and resettle back into the story. The narrator had a lovely, placid voice and her soothing tone was just right for Nazneen who seemed to desire going through life without creating a ripple.

If you like audiobooks, I am giving away some that I liked, here.

Nazneen is the perfect character for the Women Unbound challenge. I practically cheered when she had an affair simply because she was doing something for herself rather than for others!And although her political activism was somewhat short-lived, it was a start.

This book counts toward the 2010 Audiobook Challenge hosted by the bloggers over at Royal Reviews. Click on the button to see my progress.


bermudaonion said...

This does sound like a lovely book. I can see that the changing point of view could be confusing, but it's probably that way in the print version too.

Diane said...

Yes, you should try falling asleep with a good audio book; especially good calming effect if it isn't a thriller..murder mystery :)

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