Set in a small Portuguese village, Alentejo Blue is a story of displacement and modernization told through the lives of the locals and of people who are just passing through. The residents of Mamarrosa, whose ancestors occupy the graveyards, are restless and struggle to make a living. They watch as tourists and expats move in.
Monica Ali's characters are profoundly sympathetic. Her understanding of their dreams, desires, and disappointments is rare and moving. Alentejo Blue is evidence that Monica Ali is one of the most gifted voices of her generation.
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"The characters' lives generate little tension, much like the pinball machine in Vasco's cafe that Stanton plays badly." - Publishers Weekly
"Again and again, Alentejo Blue laments the failure of these people to connect with anyone, but ultimately the stories offer us little more than a series of heavy sighs." - The Washington Post
"A master of concision and suggestion, the author says volumes about characters and situations by what she does not say. It does indeed take a village - in this case, to show the fundamental universality of all human predicaments." - Booklist
"A solid successor to Brick Lane. Ali proves that she isn't a one-hit wonder when it comes to writing." - USA Today
"Ali is masterful in writing about her characters' lives." - Los Angeles Times
"Overall, the novel compares favorably with Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter as a study of collective despair and frustrated hopes." - Library Journal
"The author roams through many voices and perspectives, but the characterizations are superficial. The drastic change of scene, though maybe necessary for artistic growth, has left Ali oddly adrift." - Kirkus Reviews
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Monica Ali is the daughter of English and Bangladeshi parents.
She came to England at the age of three, and her first home was Bolton in Greater Manchester. Ali later studied at Oxford University.
Her first novel, Brick Lane (2003), is an epic saga about a Bangladeshi family living in the UK and explores the British immigrant experience. It was shortlisted for the 2003 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and was made into a film that was released in 2007.
Her second novel, Alentejo Blue, set in Portugal, was published in 2006, and her third novel, In the Kitchen, was published in 2009. Her latest novel is Untold Story, which was published in 2011.
Ali, who was named one of the twenty "Best of Young British Novelists" in 2003 by Granta magazine, currently lives in London with her husband and ...
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