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A young Bangladeshi woman, Nazneem, arrives in 1980s London, leaving behind her beloved sister and home, for an arranged marriage and a new life. Trapped within the four walls of her flat in East London, and in a loveless marriage with the middle aged Chanu, she fears her soul is quietly dying. Her sister Hasina, meanwhile, through letters to Nazneed, tells of her carefree life back in Bangladesh, stumbling from one adventure to the next. Nazneen struggles to accept her lifestyle, and keeps her head down in spite of life's blows, but she soon discovers that life cannot be avoided - and is forced to confront it the day that the hotheaded young Karim comes knocking at her door. Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
My sister, one of my best sources for literature that doesn't disappoint, told me that Brick Lane was one of her all time favorite books. I didn't get to it, but I did get to the movie.
After cinematically traveling to India via "Before the Rains" a couple of weeks ago, Brick Lane took me to Bangledesh. With continuous flashbacks to her home country, I followed Nazneem,a young Bangladeshi woman to the London ghetto in the early 1980's.
As was common in her culture, Nazneem left home at age sixteen to pursue an arranged marriage She has two daughters, who we meet as young teens, one of whom is as rebellious and difficult as any American teenager we've known (or been). Nazneem is dreadfully unhappy in her new life partly because she misses her sister back home. The other reasons have something to do with never having lived life on her own terms, losing her first born and a touch of early mother loss, too.
Let's just say that the different manifestations of love are examined in Brick Lane through the experience of Nazneem. How her heart opens and how she matures is unexpected. Without giving too much away, there is a drop dead gorgeous character named Karim who has something to do with it. Like a good book, and I suspect this is one, there are delicious surprises. Characters endear us in the end that we couldn't stand at first and others we admire, fall from grace. The story is rich.
So, I'll be getting my copy of Brick Lane by Monica Ali and will let you know how it measures up to this beautiful movie.
Weeks can go by without a worthwhile movie to see, but to have Before the Rains and Brick Lane in the same month. Now, that's a gift.
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