Booker-nominated Ali (Brick Lane) returns with the complex yet breezy account of a 26-year-old London medical student who questions whether she really wants to be a doctor or if she’s merely carrying out her father’s wishes. Yasmin Ghorami’s family is Indian and Muslim, and she is engaged to white upper-class colleague Joe Sangster, whose mother, Harriet, is a famous feminist activist. As wedding planning commences with Harriet and Yasmin’s mother, Anisah, at the helm, tensions rise between the couple, but it turns out religious and cultural differences are the least of the roadblocks. The delicate web of familial relationships and drama is held up by a vibrant supporting cast: Yasmin’s underachieving brother and his girlfriend’s unplanned pregnancy; Anisah’s midlife awakening to her own power, and Yasmin’s father’s increasing alcohol use and isolation as he clings to his conservative religious beliefs. Everything leads toward the reveal of a dark secret held by the Ghoramis that threatens to undermine the engagement. The characters’ brisk discussions on politics, culture, and race skate over ideological divides, the substance of which emerges in dramatic irony and creates a textured portrayal of an immigrant family. This is sure to please Ali’s fans and win some new ones. (May)
From the Publisher
Praise for Love Marriage
“Ali successfully skewers everyone—white feminists, children of immigrants, overconfident male doctors...funny and satisfying.”
“Such lively characters, they practically waltz off the page to hand readers save-the-date cards."
—New York Times Book Review, May “Group Text” pick
"Cultural clashes, political satire, Oedipal conflicts, elegant prose—they’re all here in this romp of a book."
“What starts out as a novel about planning a wedding that crosses two very different cultures evolves into something quite different. LOVE MARRIAGE is about coming of age when you thought (perhaps wrongly) that you already had arrived.”
“A riveting portrait of a seemingly perfect engagement’s unraveling... Ali’s character treatments are multifaceted, humane and fluid in this multicultural family drama.”
—BookPage, STARRED review
"The characters’ brisk discussions on politics, culture, and race skate over ideological divides, the substance of which emerges in dramatic irony and creates a textured portrayal of an immigrant family. This is sure to please Ali’s fans and win some new ones."
“[A] colorful tale of strained relationships ... The finale is rich, bawdy, and bold, a dramatization of the many ways we fail those closest to us and build lives on shifting sediments of buried feelings. And we live for love, nonetheless.”
"Ali’s immersive novel, skipping deftly between several points of view, might be termed a comedy of manners of Britain’s urban middle class, but the comedy here has teeth: Though the book treats its characters with affection, the racial dynamics are conveyed with real, heart-rending bite. A keen look at London life, relationships (especially interracial ones)—and a return to Ali’s most celebrated territory."
UK Praise for Love Marriage
“Monica Ali’s latest novel explores a wide range of themes from smashing cultural taboos to the faltering steps you take when you’re young and in love and the experience of being the child of immigrants. Ali’s wit and insight illuminate the complications of modern love in Britain today. A joy.”
“Every bit as compelling as her debut, Brick Lane... warm and intelligent.”
“Love Marriage is wildly entertaining. As you read you’re thoroughly immersed in the intricacies of Ali’s characters... This is a bold and generous book, with large portions set in a sprawling hospital — the perfect backdrop for asking powerful questions about what constitutes health in life and health in love, now.”
“Ali has written a brilliantly tender and compelling novel about who we are and how we love in 21st century Britain.”
—Martin Chilton, Independent
“Over 500 compulsive, tightly plotted pages, it explores the conflict between duty and desire, family and freedom... a master storyteller.”
—Madeleine Feeny, Prospect
“Rich, sensitive and gloriously entertaining... the novel’s real strength lies in its depiction of complex social encounters”
—Tash Aw, Times Literary Supplement
“A novel with the richness, and the throng and press and hum of life itself, Love Marriage is bold, compassionate, big-hearted, pitch-perfectly written, and utterly unputdownable. Every single character lives and breathes on the page. Make time for all of them for they are going to take up residence in your mind and soul for a long, long time.”
—Neel Mukherjee, Booker Prize shortlisted author of The Lives of Others
“No one captures the modern family like Monica Ali—Love Marriage is a masterful cacophony of characters, all drawn with deep empathy and sharp insight. The novel is full of surprises and unexpected twists, with an ending that will take your breath away.”
—Tahmima Anam, author of The Startup Wife
This latest from Bangladeshi-born, UK-raised Ali, a Granta Best of Young British Novelists, features 26-year-old medical student Yasmin Ghorami, who's engaged to posh Joe Sangster. To Yasmin's relief, Joe's elegant mother quickly embraces her own not-as-polished mom, but family complications—and Joe's less-than-devoted ways—quickly threaten the romance. With a 125,000-copy first printing.
Two London families—one Bengali, one White—collide spectacularly when their two eldest children decide to marry.
Yasmin Ghorami is a people-pleaser. At 26, doing what others expect is so ingrained in her that when her younger brother, Arif, asks her what she hoped to do before she became a doctor like their father, she can’t even remember if she ever had separate dreams of her own. She follows the rules of her family and her faith. She still lives with her parents and Arif in London, but not for long: She’s about to be married to Joe Sangster, a fellow doctor. Her parents, both Muslims with differing degrees of religiosity, thwarted tradition and married for love, and Yasmin is convinced that marrying Joe is her own romantic destiny. As the wedding plans coalesce, Yasmin has to deal with her future mother-in-law, Harriet, a Gloria Steinem–esque figure who is one of the leading feminist writers and thinkers in England. Harriet’s urbane, liberal fetishizing of Yasmin’s family—especially her homemaker mother—is a destabilizing influence, as is Harriet’s possessive relationship with Joe. Then there’s Arif’s aimlessness and his increasing awareness of the racism, both blatant and microaggressive, in his and Yasmin’s daily lives. Yasmin looks to Joe for stability, but he’s got secrets of his own. Before long, Yasmin is forced to reexamine the foundations of her whole life before the cracks threaten to bring everything she knows crumbling down. Ali’s immersive novel, skipping deftly between several points of view, might be termed a comedy of manners of Britain’s urban middle class, but the comedy here has teeth: Though the book treats its characters with affection, the racial dynamics are conveyed with real, heart-rending bite.
A keen look at London life, relationships (especially interracial ones)—and a return to Ali’s most celebrated territory.