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Book Reviews of Brick Lane

Brick Lane
Brick Lane
Author: Monica Ali
ISBN-13: 9780743243308
ISBN-10: 0743243307
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 384
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.

3.3 stars, based on 29 ratings
Publisher: Scribner
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

33 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Brick Lane on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is a superb book. You really feel deeply for the characters. I was glad that it was on the lenghty side as I didn't want it to end.
Suzanimals avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This a fascinating book about a young Bangladeshi woman, Nazneen, who is married to a much older Bangladeshi man, and how she adjusts to life with him in London. At first she is not permitted to do much, even leave the apartment, and at the same time receives letters from her sister in Dhaka who is facing limited options as a Muslim woman, too. Nazneed eventually empowers herself to navigate her neighborhood, learn English and take her own job, at the same time falls in love/lust with a young Muslim radical who wants to organize jihad in their community post 9/11.

I really enjoyed this book and I felt I really had a good sense of an immigrant woman's life, and all that it entails.
sari-lynn avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 207 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The story centers around a Bangladeshi woman living in London in an arranged marriage, and her sister back home, who has married for love. An interesting contrast of the two lives, the choices that one makes and the other doesn't. Rich characterizations.
vallipow avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The immigrant world of Bangladeshis in 1980s and '90s London is beautifully chronicled in Brick Lane. The protaganist, Nazneen, is the lens through which we meet her hapless but proud husband, watch her daughters grow, and meet neighbors who compete with and support each other.

Brick Lane also depicts the life of Nazneen's beautiful sister, Hasina, whose beauty doesn't save her from a series of demeaning experiences in Bengal.

The realistic complexity of the characters is moving and memorable. Nazneen's slow evolution from teenage bride to independent mother of Westernized daughters is complex; Hasina is also strong, although she clearly has fewer options than Nazneen because she remains in the Bengali society that is more limiting than the London which is right outside Nazneen's neighborhood.

Brick Lane deftly illuminates the conflicts and changes that occur when an immigrant sees the possibilities and risks available in a new culture. Ali made me really care about Nazneen and her sister, as well as about her family and neighbors in their insulated world.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was a painful book to get through and it's not even that long. I woudln't recommend it.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A brilliant, spicy story of longing and obligation. Characters are thoroughly original, and at times quite funny!
reviewed Brick Lane on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Interesting story about a young Pakistani girl who moves to London after an arranged marriage with a much older man. I found the main character somewhat hard to connect with.
wardbunch avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Slow going, but worthy reading. I enjoyed the cultural aspect of a Bengali Muslim immigrant in London.
BethC avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I was fascinated with this story of a young muslim woman who married and moved from her home of Bangladesh to England. On one level, as a native American, I was interested to read about how the many immigrant women I see on the streets view our culture. True, this takes place in England, but the culture clashes are similar. On another level, it was also interesting to read about how some problems related to marriage, child raising and running a household on a limited income, are universal. It's a slow moving book, but a worthwhile read.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 50 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
THis is a wonderful story of a woman who settles in London with her husband after an arranged marriage. The change from her home in Bangladesh makes this a fascinating clash of cultures, especially with regard to her daughters. A joy to read!
reviewed Brick Lane on
Helpful Score: 1
Was expecting much more from this book considering that it was supposed to be a bestseller. The story moves at a snail's pace and there is nothing new in the story and we have been used to reading stories of assimilation in different culture and women from patriarchal society becoming independent due to exposure to new culture and circumstances. Have read similar themes many a times now and maybe this book might appeal to someone who is not used to reading such a theme.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 117 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (Britain's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize in the USA), this novel is a poignant and right-on reflection of the difficulty of acclimating into a new society and culture. After an arranged marriage to Chanu, a man 20 years older, Nazneen is taken to London, after having left her home and heart in the Bangladeshi village where she was born.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An intense look into the Muslin world of women and how they survive.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Bittersweet with an unrealistic twist in the last third of the book.
reviewed Brick Lane on
Helpful Score: 1
Story was too depressing. Couldn't finish the book.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 102 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book. About an arranged marriage of a Bangladeshi woman who moves to London after marriage and how she copes.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Interesting look into the immigrant experience for a Muslim woman. I don't agree that this author is one of the best of her generation though.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 158 more book reviews
"Warm, shrewd, startling and hugely readable: the sort of book you race through greedily, dreading the last page." The Observer (London)
Kmarie avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 529 more book reviews
Monica Ali's gorgeous first novel is the deeply moving story of one woman, Nazneen, born in a Bangladeshi village and transported to London at age eighteen to enter into an arranged marriage. Already hailed by the London Observer as "one of the most significant British novelists of her generation," Ali has written a stunningly accomplished debut about one outsider's quest to find her voice.

What could not be changed must be borne. And since nothing could be changed, everything had to be borne. This principle ruled her life. It was mantra, fettle, and challenge.

Nazneen's inauspicious entry into the world, an apparent stillbirth on the hard mud floor of a village hut, imbues in her a sense of fatalism that she carries across continents when she is married off to Chanu, a man old enough to be her father. Nazneen moves to London and, for years, keeps house, cares for her husband, and bears children, just as a girl from the village is supposed to do. But gradually she is transformed by her experience, and begins to question whether fate controls her or whether she has a hand in her own destiny.

Vivid, profoundly humane, and beautifully rendered, Brick Lane captures a world at once unimaginable and achingly familiar. And it establishes Monica Ali as a thrilling new voice in fiction. As Kirkus Reviews said, "She is one of those dangerous writers who see everything."
Alacornlady avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 79 more book reviews
A view of the world we don't often see.
reviewed Brick Lane on
It was really hard to get into the story. After reading previous reviews, I was expecting something that can be compared to the " Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri, but it was completely dissapointing.
jareylee avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 25 more book reviews
A Bangladeshi woman in an arranged marriage in London comes of age. An immigrant feminist manifesto of sorts.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 38 more book reviews
I should know better by now. If I see a film advertisement, just rent the film. No, I'd heard about this book for years now and figured, oh, I'll just read it first and then do the film afterward.

Two sisters from Bangladesh (elder Nazneen and younger Hasina) marry and leave their home country. Nazneen's arranged marriage to Chanu, twenty years her senior, takes her to a flat in London's Tower Hamlets. Hasina marries for love to a man whose first-rate job with the railroad seems an assurance of future wealth and decent times. However, each woman experiences myriad problems within the scope of their marriage, and does her best to find a way to be content with the path they follow in life.

I firmly believe this would be a fine film. As a novel, I found it to be a slow read, bogging down with details about the furniture in the flat, the annoying neighbors upon whom Nazneen relies for cultural community and "friendship", the letters between herself and Hasina revealing small yet very important details of life. Frankly, I felt bored and annoyed. Perhaps these emotions are intentional by the author. I stopped around page fifty.

Update: After further reflection, I picked this back up and continued reading all the way to the end. I feel what the author accomplished in 415 pages could have been told in just as rich a way in half the amount of pages. Still, though, I struggled to get past Nazneen's plodding existence in London, which could have been anywhere at all, and was probably the point the author was making. I could envision this family's life as a play-- stark sets, depressing attitudes and lack of positive actions from the family (despite best laid plans) and some odd characters thrown in for friends.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 3 more book reviews
Story was ok did learn history of immigrant treatment in England.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 10 more book reviews
reviewed Brick Lane on + 2 more book reviews
I was very disappointed after reading this book. It was a drag to complete reading.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 83 more book reviews
well written glimpse into another world
reviewed Brick Lane on + 151 more book reviews
This was one of those rare books I didn't even finish reading. I just felt like I had heard it all before, and knew exactly what was going to happen next.
reviewed Brick Lane on
The first half of this book was great but the second half really dragged.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 72 more book reviews
Beautifully written.
houndmom avatar reviewed Brick Lane on + 9 more book reviews
decent writing - 3 out of 5
reviewed Brick Lane on
Was a slow read - took a while to get into but worth the effort.
reviewed Brick Lane on + 124 more book reviews