Nazneen, a quiet Bangladeshi girl who believes that one should never rail against fate, finds herself married off to a boorish blowhard in London. There, she gives birth to three children, tends to the house as is expected of a village bride, and grows attached, against all odds, to her husband. In other words, nothing very dramatic occurs, which is the magic of this book: There is space for Nazneen’s (and the author’s) poignant ruminations on what it is to have a sense of place and what it means to belong. In a first novel of surprising sophistication and assurance, Ali treats potentially heavy-handed themes with both grace and thoughtfulness.

Brick Lane
  • Movie
  • 102 minutes