Brick Lane by Monica Ali got huge press when it was first released and it’s taken me a long time to get around to reading it and I’m so glad I did.
When I lived in London, as all Kiwis do at some stage, I had friends living in squats in the estates she describes, I sold pharmaceuticals to Doctors just like the one in the book, and I lived, for a year, in Wembley which was dominated by “Asians”.
It’s funny, because in NZ Asians come from China, Korea and Thailand while Indians come from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In the UK Asians come from the subcontinent and Orientals come from China etc. Most people in both nations make little effort to distinguish any further.
It was fabulous reading the book, telling the London story from the other side. I knew the landscape, the people but I was also being offered a rare glimpse inside.
Thank you Monica, for writing Brick Lane.