Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali

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Synopsis

Alentejo Blue is the story of a village community in Portugal, told through the lives of men and women whose families have lived there for generations and some who are passing through. For Teresa, a beautiful girl not yet twenty, Mamarrosa is a place from which to escape. For the dysfunctional Potts family, it is a way of running from trouble (though not eluding it). Vasco, a café owner who has never recovered from the death of his American wife, clings to a notion that his years away from the village, in the States, make him superior. One English tourist fantasizes about making a new life in Mamarrosa; for her compatriots, a young engaged couple, Mamarrosa is where their dreams fall apart.

At the opening of Alentejo Blue, an old man reflects on his long and troubled life in this seemingly tranquil place, and anticipates the homecoming of Marco Afonso Rodrigues, the prodigal son of the village and a symbol of the now fast-changing world. When Marco does finally return, villagers, tourists, and expatriates are brought together, and their jealousies and disappointments inevitably collide.
 

About Monica Ali

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Monica Ali was born October 20, 1967. She is a British writer of Bangladeshi origin. She is the author of Brick Lane, her debut novel, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2003.
 
Published June 20, 2006 by Scribner. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Alentejo Blue

The New York Times

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Her second book, "Alentejo Blue," a loosely interwoven collection of stories set in and around a Portuguese village, has so different a voice, tempo, mood and theme from her first book, "Brick Lane," that the two seem to share no family resemblance, no authorial DNA.

Jun 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

The New York Times

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Monica Ali demonstrates her versatility and hints at the breadth of her interests in her new novel, set in a village in southern Portugal.

Jun 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

The Guardian

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Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali Doubleday £14.99, pp299 Sometimes the best way of throwing people off the scent - or getting them off your back - is to do the least expected thing.

May 21 2006 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

The Guardian

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Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali 304pp, Doubleday, £14.99 Brick Lane was the work of a writer who seemed to have found, right at the beginning of her career and with absolute confidence, her own voice.

May 20 2006 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

Book Reporter

Ali does a wonderful job painting each of these lives, describing them with great detail so the reader can imagine the smells, sounds and feel of living in this village that seems to be stuck in time.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

USA Today

While the book was still in manuscript form, Ali was hailed as one of the best novelists of her generation.Reviewers praised the compassion and insight that Ali, born in Bangladesh and raised in England, brought to her tale about a Bangladeshi family in London.She leaves the confines of that comm...

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London Review of Books

Following her ambitious and pacy first novel about Bangladeshis in the East End of London, Monica Ali has emphatically changed direction by setting her second book in Portugal.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Laura Demanski Minneapolis Star Tribune 3 of 5 Stars "The Potts family, a British couple and their two children who live in drug-addled squalor outside the town, seems worthy of a novel all its own, and Chrissie, the ostensible matron, has a fabulous voice.

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

The New Yorker

Our fiction reviewers are a feisty pair this week, sharpening their knives for Monica Ali’s “In the Kitchen,” her latest novel since the 2006 “Alentejo Blue,” which was set in a small Portuguese village. This novel returns to the London setting of “Brick Lane” fame, where Ali focuses on a chef ...

Aug 03 2009 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

India Today

Monica Ali's celebrated first novel was a troubling work-in a classic review in Biblio, Alice Albinia described walking down the real Brick Lane in London and noting the complexities that never made it to the fictional Brick Lane.

Jul 17 2006 | Read Full Review of Alentejo Blue

Reader Rating for Alentejo Blue
35%

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