Love Marriage By Monica Ali
Book/Novel Author: Monica Ali
Book/Novel Title: Love Marriage
“Cultural clashes, political satire, Oedipal conflicts, elegant prose—they’re all here in this romp of a book.” —Oprah Daily A Phenomenal Book Club Pick and a New York Times Book Review Group Text Selection, Love Marriage is a glorious moving novel from Booker Prize shortlisted Monica Ali, who has “an inborn generosity that cannot be learned” (The New York Times Book Review).In present-day London, Yasmin Ghorami is twenty-six, in training to be a doctor (like her Indian-born father), and engaged to the charismatic, upper-class Joe Sangster, whose formidable mother, Harriet, is a famous feminist. The gulf between families is vast. So, too, is the gulf in sexual experience between Yasmin and Joe. As the wedding day draws near, misunderstandings, infidelities, and long-held secrets upend both Yasmin’s relationship and that of her parents, a “love marriage,” according to the family lore that Yasmin has believed all her life. A gloriously acute observer of class, sexual mores, and the mysteries of the human heart, Monica Ali has written a “riveting” (BookPage, starred review) social comedy and a moving, revelatory story of two cultures, two families, and two people trying to understand one another that’s “sure to please Ali’s fans and win some new ones” (Publishers Weekly).
Such a great read, so many interesting characters, great writing, maybe a little predictable but then again not…was sad it ended!
One of the highest compliments I can give to author, Monica Ali, is to describe her as a modern day Tolstoy! She IS THAT good! In “Love Marriage,” Ali delves deeply into the lives, emotions, and emotional baggage carried by every single main character. There is humor, as in a comedy of manners, but there is sorrow and pain, as well.At the start of the novel, we are introduced to Jasmin Gorami, MD, who is young, just 26, and working in a hospital in suburban London. She is engaged to Joe Sangster, MD (her father is also a doctor). What we don’t know from the start is that Joe suffers from a painful addiction that threatens to destroy his relationship with Jazmin, especially after he betrays her trust. When she learns of this betrayal, she is hurt, but decides not to leave him. Instead, she will commit a similar violation of trust, though for different reasons. Each is struggling with emotional issues that are generational.Jasmin’s mother and father, she was always told, had a love marriage, rather than one that is arranged, as was the norm in their Indian culture. Her parents are an odd couple, from different worlds, but they have been married for three decades. Jasmin’s younger brother, lives at home, as does Jasmin, despite their being adults. He is a total disappointment to their father because he seems to be a dreamer, not driven the way Jasmin seems to be. He becomes estranged from his father when things get really complicated with a girlfriend, leaving his mother broken hearted and angry, while her son is banished from their home.Joe’s mother, a free spirit with her own dark background, has no concept of boundaries with regard to her son, and this is causing issues with the betrothed couple. She wants to take over all the wedding planning, and seems unable to let go of her son, even though he is going to be married soon. Meanwhile, one of the most interesting characters, who might seem weak or submissive, (but who is anything but) is Jasmin’s mother. She has kept a secret forever, one which will, when revealed, change everything Jazmin thought she knew about her family.Things go from bad to worse. There are infidelities, families coming apart, work crises, and emotional breakthroughs. We are treated to “be” at the therapy sessions Joe undergoes, and I found those chapters some of the most interesting, as his therapist delves into Joe’s childhood, his relationship with his parents, and comes to see that Joe is discovering the source of his addiction. Both Joe and Jasmin learn that things are never as they seem, and that separating from ones past, and determining which things or people in their lives are harmful to them, is essential to achieve maturity and to live a good, satisfying life.If I had to describe Ali’s writing in one word, I would say “earthy.” Her prose is raw, at times ugly and painful to read, but there is beauty in that, as her characters truly become known to us and, even more importantly, to themselves. It’s a long book, one I felt could have ended fifty pages sooner, and yet, no words were wasted, and there were surprises and revelations up until the very end. I am not a fan of vague endings, but with this one, which WAS vague, I felt there was room for hope for a good outcome, based on subtle hints along the way.”Love Marriage” is a beautiful, and brilliantly written novel about love, marriage, family, dreams, infidelity, race, culture, and most of all, finding one’s true destination, even if it is painful to get there.
I waited a long time for a new book by this author. I wish I had had to wait longer for her to write a book that was actually well written. It was so cliché filled and boring. I only made it half way through, thinking it’s got to get better, but then I finally gave up when it didn’t. I didn’t care about any of the characters, in fact disliked some of them. I just wanted to stop reading it.
A beautiful, bumpy and human novel that opens up, as the author writes, like the dawn – slowly, then all at once.
I really enjoyed this tale of Yasmin, Joe, and their extended families. The writing engages you in the stories of these people, who while not always likable are always so terribly human. You”ll see how the growing up years of our parents affect how they parent and then how that affects the next generation. And yet there is hope too for healing, for growth, and for change. Love Marriage is available now. and it’s a really good read!
Wow. This one was really great. The place the novel stands out is in how varied, complex, flawed, and real the relationships are among and between two families, one Indian Muslim and the other rather WASPY. Yasmin, 26, feels she knows all about sex after sleeping with three men, and is engaged to be married to Joe, a fellow doctor who has had voluminous sexual relationships. The couple wants a sweet and simple marriage at the registry office, but both Yasmin and Joe’s mothers have different ideas. Harriet, Joe’s mother is a vocal feminist activist with no hang ups about sex. Yasmin’s parents on the other hand are devout Muslims where sex is rarely mentioned. Yasmin is sure there will be a culture clash the first time her physician father and mother meet Harriet, Joe’s mother. There is a clash but it’s not at all what’s expected. Harriet’s feminism unlocks some need for freedom in Yasmin’s mother and their respective families are transformed.The book tackles many themes including same sex love, polyamory, immigrant parents pressures on their children to be lawyers or doctors, infidelity, addiction, racial discrimination, rape, and the plight of the elderly left in hospitals.It’s hard to describe the book without spoilers, but let’s just say every other page held a new relationship drama. The characters were very real, very alive, and dealing with universal problems in unconventional ways, in part because of the cultural differences, but also due to Harriet’s overbearing, all consuming relationship with Joe.Joe and Yasmin work hard on their individual issues, including Joe attending numerous therapy sessions. It’s very unclear whether they’ll be able to stay together in light of all the obstacles in their way. You just have to read it to know.It was very well written. I’d call it high brow women’s fiction. Very worth the read.