Monday, September 06, 2004

BRICK LANE is a profound tale of self-making and cultural appropriation

monica ali's BRICK LANE should have won the booker prize. what a rich and delightful book! i devoured the book in a weekend, and her storytelling skills and powerful writing kept me enthralled from beginning to end. what struck me and has stuck with me is the poetic symmetry of the story. ali's narrative has the sort of structural balance for which i can only yearn. best of all, is her exquisite handling of the transnational dislocation, the clash of tradition and modernity, the dialectic of socially-constructed fate and human agency. With her powerful yet seemingly effortless prose, she uses nazneen's awakening to the possibilities of her own powers as a metonym for the immigrant experience, in which the sojourner claims the begrudging host country as a home, without allowing assimilation to whitewash her, and the feminist experience, in which the woman claims her own powers without giving up her own culture. BRICK LANE is a profound tale of self-making and cultural appropriation, whereby the encounter with a different culture is done with dignity and ultimately on her own terms. BRAVO!