Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nazneen's plight shows a different side to London

I'm reading a variety of materials these days, preparing for my year-end trip to LONDON (see ERIK'S JOLLY OLD ALBION blog, link on the right).
My current reading list includes the MONICA ALI novel, "BRICK LANE."
Ali writes about a young Bangladeshi woman, Nazneen, who is sent from her village to London's Tower Hamlets borough to live with her arranged-marriage husband, the much older and boorish Chanu.
Nazneen tries to give in to fate's whims, but anger and frustration about her situation boils over:
"She put three pinches of salt in with the lentils, now that they were soft enough to break down. She stirred in chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and chopped ginger. The golden mixture blew fat, contented bubbles. Nazneen tasted some from a spoon and burned her tongue. But it was her heart that was ablaze, with mutiny."
Ali's novel is a great introduction to a facet of London life an outsider rarely glimpses -- the plight of the London outsider -- and I am glad I am using this novel to augment my guide books.


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