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Brick Lane | [Monica Ali]

Brick Lane

Nanzeen's inauspicious birth in a Bangladeshi village imbues in her a sense of fatalism that she carries across continents. Married off to a man old enough to be her father, Nanzeen moves to London and cares for her family. But gradually she begins to question whether fate controls her or whether she has a hand in her own destiny. She discovers both the complexity that comes with free choice and the depth of her attachment to her husband, her daughters and her new world.
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Publisher's Summary

Nanzeen's inauspicious birth in a Bangladeshi village imbues in her a sense of fatalism that she carries across continents. Married off to a man old enough to be her father, Nanzeen moves to London and cares for her family. But gradually she begins to question whether fate controls her or whether she has a hand in her own destiny. She discovers both the complexity that comes with free choice and the depth of her attachment to her husband, her daughters and her new world.

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

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Fiction (Abridged), 2004

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (158 )
5 star
 (33)
4 star
 (55)
3 star
 (46)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (7)
Overall
3.9 (29 )
5 star
 (5)
4 star
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3 star
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Story
4.3 (26 )
5 star
 (10)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Anne Davis, CA, USA 11-24-03
    Anne Davis, CA, USA 11-24-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
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    "A truly wonderful book!"

    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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B J Cranberry Twp, PA, USA 11-16-03
    B J Cranberry Twp, PA, USA 11-16-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Other Eyes"

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor pasadena, CA, USA 01-24-04
    Victor pasadena, CA, USA 01-24-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Brick Lane"

    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!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia Irmo, SC, USA 09-19-08
    Marcia Irmo, SC, USA 09-19-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Read!"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Plantation, FL, United States 03-17-07
    John Plantation, FL, United States 03-17-07 Member Since 2003

    Longtime Audible enthusiast!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Underwhelming"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jayne Louisville, KY, United States 10-28-06
    Jayne Louisville, KY, United States 10-28-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kudos to Elizabeth Sastre"

    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...

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda stockton, NY, United States 04-29-04
    Linda stockton, NY, United States 04-29-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of my favorite Audible titles!"

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L New York NY, United States 10-21-06
    L New York NY, United States 10-21-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow this was good!"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon boothwyn, PA, USA 03-13-06
    Shannon boothwyn, PA, USA 03-13-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pass on this one"

    I’ve listened to a number of audible books and just could not get into this one. The plot held little interest to me and the voice of the narrator was somewhat grating. The story never seemed to pick up and suck you in. It just kept going and going. I would not recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matissa Hanover, NH, USA 04-02-04
    Matissa Hanover, NH, USA 04-02-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great one to hear on tape"

    I thought the reader was fantastic. She used a variety of authentic accents to make the book come alive in a way that I think might be missed just reading it. The story itself was intruiging and provided great insights into the life of immigrants and struggles with current events. I wasn't absolutely blown away by the story, but I'm very glad I listened to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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