Brick Lane

“Brick Lane” by Monica Ali (U.K.)

Review

Readers enjoyed this multi-layered book a lot finding that it brought the immigrant experience deftly to life. They liked the parallel stories of the two sisters, Nazneen who went abroad and Hasina who remained behind, and the insights into their different personalities. They warmed immediately to the protagonist, who they described as most personable. Her inner growth from being a naïve teenager in an arranged marriage to an independent woman capable of making her own decisions was thoroughly enjoyed by all. They loved the little details in the descriptions of the characters and places, and they loved the minor characters, such as Mr Azad, Mrs Islam, Razia and the Tattoo lady. They liked how the character of Nazneen’s lover, Karim, evolved and one reader felt it was symbolic of the radicalization of Islam following 9/11 and the West’s part in it. Readers found the story filled with both a lot of tragedy and humour, calling it a rich tapestry filled with marvellous characters. Overall, the book averaged an 8.3 out of 10.

The theme this season is “Book to Film Adaptations”. Released in 2007, the film adaptation is directed by Sarah Gavron and has a cast of little-known actors. Despite this fact, viewers found the casting exceptional, especially the roles of Chanu, Nazneen, Karim and Shahana (Nazneen’s eldest daughter). They described the music as beautiful and haunting, and visually they thought the film was highly aesthetic. However, most viewers found the storyline one-dimensional and quite slight compared to the book. They were disappointed that it was not more substantial. They agreed that the film was a fairly good adaptation of the book, though they would highly recommend reading the book for a full picture of the intricate details.

Synopsis

Still in her teenage years, Nazneen finds herself in an arranged marriage with a disappointed man who is twenty years older. Away from the mud and heat of her Bangladeshi village, home is now a cramped flat in a high-rise block in London’s East End… Read more

Season 12 – “Book to Film Adaptations” (Sep 2010 – Jan 2011)

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
“The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd (U.S.)
“Before Night Falls” by Reinaldo Arenas (Cuba)
“Brick Lane” by Monica Ali (U.K.)
“Disgrace” by J.M. Coetzee (South Africa) *

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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