Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Book News: Alentejo Blue

Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali

I have read a couple of reviews of Ali's new book and am interested in reading it. It sounds similar to the book Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco which I thoroughly enjoyed. Oprah has also suggested it as part of her summer reading collection. I don't mind Oprah's book suggestions sometimes, but at other times I can't stand the idea that I am reading a book thousands of other women will read only because Oprah suggested it. I will have to wait patiently for the library to obtain this book.

"Provincial Portugal--specifically, the region called Alentejo--provides a rustic but atmospherically rich setting for a cycle of stories by the Bangladeshi-born author of the critically celebrated novel Brick Lane (2003). Are these nine stories better seen as chapters in a loosely constructed novel? Actual classification is incidental as Ali follows a group of individuals who call the village of Mamarrosa home, whether permanently or temporarily. Her sensitivity to tender natures leaves her an astonishing inhabiter of the psychology of a variety of characters who come within Mamarrosa's orbit, including an English writer who has stationed himself there, the local tavern owner, and a female tourist bringing her problems from home. Many characters recur from one story, or "chapter," to the next, providing a strong connective thread in addition to their common setting. 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." Brad Hooper American Library Association.


Lindsey Lou said...

stop reading smart-sounding books. out of guilt you made me stop reading "Apache's Desire."

damn you.

Kim said...

I can't even pronounce this title! Does that make you feel better?!