Author: Monica Ali
ISBN/UPC (if available): 074326066X
A rich, panoramic sweep of a novel centered on the often harsh, sometimes unexpected and always compelling experiences of a Bangladeshi village girl sent to East London in an arranged marriage, this story is beautifully conceived and wrought.
At the tender age of eighteen, Nazneen's life is turned upside down. After an arranged marriage to a man twenty years her elder she exchanges her Bangladeshi village home for a block of flats in London's East End. In this new world, where poor people can be fat and even dogs go on diets, she struggles to make sense of her existence - and to do her duty to her husband. A man of inflated ideas (and stomach), he sorely tests her compliance.
But Nazneen submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes her life to raising her family and slapping down her demons of discontent. Until Karim, a young radical, steps into the picture.
Against a background of escalating racial and gang conflict, they embark on an affair that finally forces Nazneen to take control of her life.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS:
Ali writes with a mixture of passion and restraint that is totally exhilarating.
- India Today
Ali's ability to layer her narrative with ambiguities marks her as a major novelist.
- Sydney Morning Herald
The kind of novel that surprises one with its depth and dash; it is a novel that will last.
Ali has an impressive command of her story, but her real gift is in the richness of the lives she has created, populating Nazneen's London with a very entertaining cast of comic characters.
- The Times
Ali's observations of Nazneen, her family and friends, is precise, true and can only emanate out of deep empathy, the quality that gives this first novel its warmth and humour..Ali writes with such confidence and with the kind of control a much more experienced novelist would envy.
A wonderful first novel. Ali's writing is stunning, almost poetic at times, and she has a beautifully inventive turn of phrase.
- Mail on Sunday
Written with effortless style and amazing aplomb for a first-timer. Believe the hype. Monica Ali really is the Next Big Thing. If you buy only one book this year, make it this one.