As Brian has said, we had a lively discussion on Friday; always the sign of a good book. I wanted to leave the discussion with some quotes from the book, which really highlight the contradictions and dilemmas facing the characters as they meditate on fate and free will.
Oh, one last thing; for all of the negative coverage that Bangladesh may get, an LSE survey in 2009 put the country first in its Gross National Happiness Index!
(Next up on February 17th, Koari will be taking us on the Geoff Ryman’s journey, 253 – the book can be accessed free at http://www.ryman-novel.com/)
Quotes from Brick Lane
Chanu to Nazneen (P45): “Why should you go out? ‘If you go out, ten people will say, “I saw her walking on the street.” And I will look a fool. Personally, I don’t mind if you go out but these people are so ignorant. What can you do?
(P65): “A man cannot live without water…but he can bear the thought of no water. A man can live without sex…but he cannot bear the thought of no sex.”
Razia to Nazneenm (P71) “She’s asking for a divorce. I heard it from Nazma, who heard it from Sorupa. Hanufa told her about it, and she got it straight from the horse’s mouth.”
Nazia reflecting on home (P96): “In Gouripur a sweetmaker was a sweetmaker, a shoemaker was a shoemaker, and a carpenter was a carpenter. They did not want to be teachers or librarians. They were not waiting for promotions. They did not make themselves unhappy.”
Razia’s view of women immigrants’ experience (P114). “Listen, when I’m in Bangladesh I put on a sari and cover my head and all that. But here I go out to work. I work with white girls and I’m just one of them…Some women spend ten, twenty years here and they sit in their kitchen grinding spices all day and learn only two words of English.”
Chanu on white working class (P254). “Because our own culture is so strong. And what is their culture? Television, pub, throwing darts, kicking a ball. That is the white working class culture.”
Nazneen’s reaction to Karim’s reading, Hadith of the Day on adultery (P347) “After the first few lines Nazneen heard only the blood in her ears. She watched Karim as a mouse watches a cat; when he turned she would be ready…”It is time for you to go,” she said.