The Reading Group Reads - Brick Lane
THE opinions of the group varied considerably, on our January book of the month—Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, the story of an immigrant Bengali family living in a concrete London estate. Some of us found it a very good read—compassionate, funny, tender, beautifully written and observed, whilst others found it turgid and could barely get through the first few chapters. A real reflection of our diverse literary tastes which lead to a lively discussion!
The story is about Nazneen, an 18 year old bride who arrives in London, after an arranged marriage to Chanu, a much older man. It unfolds, as she hesitantly changes from a shy, lonely, submissive young woman, over the years, to an independent, confidant mother. Laced with tragedy and comedy, the fatalistic Nazneen and verbose, overweight Chanu, struggle with life in an alien culture, surrounded by wonderful characters—the interfering, money lending, Benylin-swilling Mrs Islam; the tragic and proud Dr Allam, Chanu’s “best friend”; the brave and outrageous Razia in her Union Jack tee shirt and young, confused, militant Karim who so wants the world to know that the Muslim faith is about peace.
Cleverly interleaved through the book , in the form of letters, is the concurrent life of the unhappy and unfulfilled Hasina, Nazneen’s sister, who still lives in Dhaka. “This is England” says Razia on the last page, “you can do whatever you like,” but you could just be left wondering if arranged marriages are ultimately less happy than love matches. Read it and see!
In February, Wed. 2nd , we’ll be discussing Trollope’s He knew he was right - Venue Kent House, at 8pm, and on Wed March 2nd, we’ll be discussing To kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee at the Hollingsworths, 41, Lower End. Ring Brenda Wilson on 743937 for further information.