While Nanzeen journeys along her path of self-realization, her sister, Hasina, rushes headlong at her life. Woven through the novel, Hasina's letters from Dhaka recount a world of overwhelming adversity. Shaped, yet not bound, by their landscapes and memories, both sisters struggle to dream, and live, beyond the rules prescribed for them.
©2003 Monica Ali; (P)2003 HighBridge Company
"A humanely forgiving story about love...Brick Lane may be Ali's first novel, but it is written with a wisdom and skill that few other authors attain in a lifetime." (Sunday Times [London])
"Carefully observed and assured...its power residing in Ali's unsparing scrutiny of its hapless, hopeful protagonists." (Publishers Weekly)
"A splendid novel." (Atlantic Monthly)
"A sharp-witted tale...In Ali's subtle narration, Nazneen's mixture of traditionalism and adaptability, of acceptance and restlessness, emerges as a quiet strength." (The New Yorker)
This book follows the life of a young woman who leaves a Bangladesh village for a marraige in London. The drawing of her character is stunning. We are let into the tiny reflections of her days, the grace with which she tries to embrace what fate has given her, and an underlying questioning of whether those who struggle against their fate, or those who accept it are happier in the end. The story is thoughtful, sensitive, provocative, and endlessly insightful. There's no great action taking place most of the time, but instead we enter her inner world, perceptions of the new culture around her, her wonder at and care for her first child, the settling into life of the family, and the tensions that come in and out of their On top of it, the voice of the reader of the audio book is endearing, excellently depicting the tone of the character discussed, and nice to listen to.
I enjoyed this audiobook, though I admit the chapters that are letters from the sister in Bangladesh are sometimes hard to listen to because they are read as if translated by someone with limited English skills. It seems odd, but if the letters were read in perfect English, they would not sound authentic. The reader is quite good...reading with what sounds like a proper accent when needed. Her voice is pleasant and smooth.
The story is not as good as I had hoped, given was shortlisted for Booker Prize. The ending is just way too neat. And characters just disappear from the story, with very little explanation. Perhaps this is deliberate? Perhaps in immigrant life people do just disappear?
Anyway, a good listen and I'd recommend it.
Truly an amazing book and reading! Elizabeth Sastre's master of Punjabi and British accents bring this book to life - I have read the book but actually prefer this version. I will admit its difficult to get used to the accents in the first ten minutes, but once you are acclimated it creates a wonderful departure from the usual stuffy british narration found in so many of the audio books... Give it a try - you won't regret it!
I really enjoyed this story and the journey via the lives of the two sisters by way of their letters to each other. The author is a excellent story teller and the lady who narrated it is the best I have listened to to date! The narrator is very versatile and extremely talented. She moves between characters flawlessly and I was enchanted with her verse.
I had an opportunity to see the movie "Brick Lane" and most naturally it did not compare to the book. I can't wait to read the next one by Monica Ali. Good Job.
Longtime Audible enthusiast!
Great narrator, but so-so story. Elizabeth Sastre does a marvelous job of reading and switching accents. In particular when narrating the letters of the sister (with limited English skills) in Bangladesh, the accent was performed to perfection.
Other than that, I found the story to be no more exciting than a soap opera, relating the day to day challenges of immigrants in England.
Elizabeth Sastre is a wonderful narrator. She does an amazing job with the various accents, both british and Bangladeshi, and really made this book come alive (as much as possible). Unfortunately, I can't give the same high marks to the book itself. While I really appreciated the glimpse into the lives of Bangladeshi immigrants in London, I found the plot line dragged on and on and was at times, quite depressing to read. I can usually get through an audio book, even if it is something I might put down if I was ready a paper copy, but this one was a real challenge to get through...
I've been an audible listener for several years now. Brick Lane is one of the best titles I've listened to. The narrator's accent gives the book a wonderful authenticity. I was fascinated by the opportunity to witness the immigrant experience of Bangladeshi families in London. The characters were so real and so sympathetic. There's no "bad guy" in this book. Just real people and their life experiences. This is a book you will think about for a long time after you have finished listening to it. Don't miss it!
Story is bad but the narration is excellent. The story is actually too descriptive that every little thing that happens becomes its own chapter and the book becomes really boring.
This book was fantastic. I am so sad it is over. The writer captures so well the intimacies of family immigrant life and relationships, and the coming into being of a woman's mature self. Gorgeous writing infused with astute descriptions of inner and outer worlds. I would read anything by this author, and the narrator's style made the characters come alive and become dear to the listener, each in his or her own way. A beautiful rendering of humanness that is both true to life's lowness and draws near to an almost holy quality in the small moments and details. Great book - I highly recommend it!
"Interesting view of Bangladeshi life in inhospitable London.."
Great listen. A very interesting insight into the everyday life of a Bangladeshi woman brought to make a life in the East End of London. Tragic and funny by turns, with several threads cleverly interwoven, I found myself fascinated by this story, not the sort of tales I normally enjoy.
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