Chapter summaries

Chapter 1

The novel Brick Lane by Monica Ali begins with the story of Nazneen’s birth in East Pakistan in 1967. 

Nazneen’s mother Rupban goes into early labor, and after delivery the child is thought to be a stillbirth. However, Nazneen begins to wail, and Banesa, the village midwife, announces that God has called the baby back to Earth. She tells Rupban and her husband Hamid that they can either take the child to the hospital in the city, or they can trust Fate. Rupban decides she must accept fate and that not fighting against destiny will make her child stronger. Rupban tells Hamid their child is a girl, and Hamid is dismissive but resigned. 

Nazneen grows up constantly being told that she must not fight fate. Her younger sister Hasina elopes with a man called Malek when she is sixteen. Hamid is furious and is ready to punish Hasina, but she never returns home. Nazneen eventually enters into an arranged marriage with Chanu, a much older man that Hamid chooses for her. 

In 1985, Nazneen is now living with Chanu in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. She stays at home during the day, busying herself with housework. One day, Nazneen is preparing dinner for Chanu and Dr Azad who will be visiting them. Afterwards, she reads from the Qur’an and takes a nap, dreaming about her sister Hasina. She reads one of Hasina’s old letters in which her sister expresses her wish to see Nazneen soon.

Nazneen is then visited by Mrs Islam and Razia Iqbal. The two women gossip about the lives of other Bangladeshi immigrants in London, such as their neighbor Jorina who was forced to get a job and mix with people of other backgrounds, which Mrs Islam says means Jorina will abandon her culture. 

Chapter 2

At dinner, Dr Azad mentions how young Bangladeshi people in London often take up the habits of the British such as drinking too much. He also explains that many Bangladeshi immigrants still long for their home countries and do not assimilate into British culture because they expect they will return home after they save more money.

Chanu talks about his upcoming promotion and about his extensive education. He says British people do not know the difference between educated immigrants like him and peasants. He mentions his superior, Mr Dalloway, to Dr Azad in the hopes of getting Azad to put in a good word for him, but Azad says he does not know who Mr Dalloway is. Nazneen and Azad share a look while Chanu continues to brag, and Nazneen feels guilty for her complicity. 

After dinner, Nazneen notices an ice skating routine on the TV, and she is fascinated but she does not know what it is. Chanu explains it to her. Nazneen struggles to pronounce “ice skating” and says she wishes to learn English, but Chanu tells her she does not need to know English. He continues to talk about his co-workers and his promotion. He argues that he has an English literature degree from the University of Dhaka, while his co-workers are not similarly educated. He then tells Nazneen that white British people are often threatened by educated immigrants like him. 

Nazneen enjoys watching ice skating but finds herself disappointed to go back to her routine and housework after it ends. When the ice skating is no longer on TV, she prays five times a day instead. She notices that Chanu never prays or reads the Qur’an. One day, Nazneen and Chanu go to a shop to buy a new sari for Nazneen. When Nazneen asks Chanu which he prefers, he answers in a convoluted and ambiguous manner, quoting Hume and Euclid and confusing Nazneen....

Teksten herover er et uddrag fra webbogen. Kun medlemmer kan læse hele indholdet.

Få adgang til hele Webbogen.

Som medlem på får du adgang til alt indhold.

Køb medlemskab nu

Allerede medlem? Log ind