Brick Lane by Monica Ali

This book is something I would never have chosen for myself to read, it is the book my book club is reading for the month and so I felt I would venture out into a type of book I would not usually read.

The story centers around Nazneen, a Bangladeshi girl who is married off at the age a young age to a much older (like twice her age plus) Bangladeshi man, Chanu, who lives in London – more specifically ‘Brick Lane’.

The novel follows Nazneen as she comes to love and have children with Chanu, although their relationship has many flaws by the end of the book I came to appreciate it. The story also has a very strong political theme running throughout and as I have little to know knowledge on Bangladeshi affairs this was sometimes tiring to read about.

The names of the characters did befuddle me a little as they aren’t names that I am familiar with, I struggled keeping track of who was who near the beginning but slowly became accustom to the uncommon names.

For the most part the plot moved on at a steady pace but to me it was just DULL. Nothing particularly exciting happened, throughout the entire novel! As I am used to reading fantasy and sci-fi maybe I was just expecting too much from this book but it was literally a telling of someones life that wasn’t very interesting!

There were aspects of the book that I did enjoy, Nanzeen left a sister, Hasina, in Bangladesh and so corresponds with her through letters. There is a chapter about mid-way through the book that is solely letters from Hasina but with no response letters from Nanzeen, I found this to be a highly interesting way to drop in parts of Nanzeen’s life without them coming directly from her, you are literally reading her sisters responses.

Parts of the story did make me feel a little towards the characters but for the most part I found it hard to connect; the story is written in third person and so I didn’t feel strongly towards any one character in particular.

I have given the book two stars as I found it extremely difficult to keep myself reading, it was a well written novel but I just found it a little mundane for my taste and I probably wouldn’t recommend this to anyone I know.

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