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Alentejo blue : fiction /
Monica Ali.
New York : Scribner, c2006.
226 p.
0743293037, 9780743293037
More Details
New York : Scribner, c2006.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2006-04-24:
Ali's 2003 debut, Brick Lane, was a brilliant family saga told largely from within a Bangladeshi woman's apartment on London's ramshackle East End. Ali, who was born in Dhaka and grew up in London, sets her sophomore effort in a similarly struggling community, the rural Alentejo region of Portugal, where cork prices are falling, the region is still healing after the brutal Salazar regime and the locals don't quite care to cater to tourists. But where Brick Lane was quietly symphonic, this blues-like novel is more of a dirge: Joao, in old age, comes upon his old friend (and sometime lover), Rui, hanging from a tree, his Communist dreams dashed; the English Potts family scrapes by as indolents-in-exile; the writer Stanton, also British, works away on a second-rate literary biography; tavern-keeper Vasco sadly and silently reminisces about his marriage to an American, Lili; and young Teresa is preparing to leave the village for an uncertain future "outside." The simultaneous sense of stasis and great change is Ali's forte, and her characters' perceptions are sharp. But when anyone other than the Brits speak, it's as if Ali is trying to ventriloquize an incompletely acquired dialect. The characters' lives generate little tension, much like the pinball machine in Vasco's cafe that Stanton plays badly. (June 20) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2006-05-01:
Using luminous, heartfelt language, the award-winning Ali (Brick Lane) weaves a tapestry of human frailty. A motley collection of natives, tourists, and expatriates lives and works in Mamarrosa, a small village in the Alentejo region of Portugal. United by their quiet burdens, Ali's characters wait and hope for change but cannot bring themselves to exert any efforts on their own behalf. Instead, they pin their hopes on the return of Marco Afonso Rodrigues, who earned a fortune abroad and is coming back to Mamarrosa for his own mysterious purposes. Readers who prefer description and setting to plot will appreciate the story's leisurely pace and meticulous attention to scenic detail. Though Ali assigns a new narrator to each chapter, sacrificing character development in favor of theme, the brief, tantalizing glimpses of private heartbreak each character reveals are both touching and compelling. Overall, the novel compares favorably with Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter as a study of collective despair and frustrated hopes. Recommended for all medium to large fiction collections.-Leigh Anne Vrabel, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, April 2006
Booklist, May 2006
Library Journal, May 2006
New York Times Book Review, June 2006
Washington Post, June 2006
Los Angeles Times, July 2006
Chicago Tribune, August 2006
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