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Monica Ali Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

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Publication Order of Anthologies

The Weekenders: Adventures in Calcutta(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Monica Ali
Monica Ali was born in Dhaka, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on October 20, 1967 to an English mom and a Bangladeshi dad. When she was three, her family moved to Bolton, England. Her dad’s originally from the district of Mymensingh. She attended Bolton School and then studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Wadham College, Oxford.

It took ten years for “Love Marriage” to be released. Monica went through a ten year period of deciding she was not going to write, having experienced a full loss of confidence. A healthy dose of self doubt is good for any writer, yet there’s also got to be self belief. She found she was depressed when she wasn’t writing and the depression fed into not being able to write, it was a downward spiral. Monica thought she could write TV drama. She sank her teeth into learning how to write scripts. Her first thing she pitched got accepted by the BBC, she thought it’d be easy, but then it never got made.

“Brick Lane” was adapted into a movie of the same name, and released in 2007. it starred Tannishtha Chatterjee.

“Brick Lane” was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in the year 2003. “Love Marriage” was a BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick.

Monica lives in South London with Simon Torrance, her husband and a management consultant. They have two kids, who both tell her that she’s the worst storyteller ever, as far as telling stories at the dinner table, at least.

“Brick Lane” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2003. Through the eyes of two Bangladeshi sisters: the plain Nazneen and the prettier Hasina, we see the divergent paths of the contemporary descendants of one ancient culture. Hasina elopes to have a “love marriage”, while young Nazneed, in her arranged marriage, gets pledged to a much older guy that lives in London.

Her skillful narrative focuses on Nazneen’s stifling life with her ineffectual husband, in an existence imprisoned in a city housing project that is filled with immigrants in varying degrees of assimilation. However Ali reveals this bittersweet tension between the “two sorts of love” that Hasina and Nazneen each experience, which starts overflowing and full, just to slowly dissipate, and another that emerges like a surprise, growing over the years unexpectedly to a faithful commitment.

Each of these loves have got their own pitfalls: Hasina’s passionate romance crumbles down into domestic violence, while Nazneen’s marriage never exactly reaches a state of wedded bliss.

“In the Kitchen” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2009. Amid the Imperial Hotel’s fading glory, embattled Executive Chef Gabriel is an enterprising guy from a northern England mill town, who makes good in London. Being an executive chef at the formerly splendid Imperial Hotel, he’s trying to run a tight kitchen.

However his integrity, saying nothing of his sanity, is under a constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberant multinational staff, a gimlet eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he’s secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. Despite pressures, all of his hard work seems set to pay off.

Until there’s a worker discovered dead in the basement of the kitchen. It is a lonely and small death, however it’s enough to disturb the tenuous balance of his life. Elsewhere, he faces some other complications. His dad’s dying of cancer, the restaurant manager seems to be running some illegal business right under Gabe’s nose, and his girlfriend wants more out of their relationship.

Enter this eerily attractive young woman with mysterious ties to the dead guy, named Lena. Under her spell, he makes a choice, the repercussions of which strip him bare and alter the course of the life that he knows, along with the future he believed he wanted.

“Untold Story” is the third stand alone novel and was released in 2011. What if Princess Diana didn’t die?

Diana’s life and her marriage were equally a nightmare and a fairy tale. Adored by millions of people, in her personal life she suffered from betrayal and heartbreak. Within her life of privilege, she often felt trapped and alone. Constrained by precedent and protocol, she refused to follow any of the rules.

This takes the life of the world’s most famous woman as a point of departure, examining the past and imagining some sort of future. The fictional princess who’s the novel’s heroine is at her breaking point and, believing that the Establishment is planning out her assassination, she makes an irrevocable choice: to stage her death and start over under an assumed identity.

After one period of intense upheaval, Lydia (as she’s now known) settles into small town America and is able to establish a fragile peace. It’s threatened by thoughts about what she lost: not all the glamour and glitz of royalty however that which is most precious and dear: her kids. She’s safe, at least, in the knowledge, since she altered her appearance and ten years after she ‘died’, that her secret’s never going to be uncovered.

However then one chance encounter with a member of the paparazzi robs her of this certainty. Is he going to recognize her? Should she flee or just stay calm? Could there be anybody she can turn to or trust? Or is she going to be inevitably betrayed?

This is a novel about friendship and family, obsession and intrigue. The meaning of identity and the odd calamity of fame.

“Love Marriage” is the fourth stand alone novel and was released in 2022. Present day London. Yasmin Ghorami, twenty-six, is training to be a doctor, just like her Indian-born dad, and is engaged to Joe Sangster, the charismatic upper class man whose formidable mom, named Harriet, is a famous feminist. The gulf between their families is quite vast. So is the gulf in sexual experience between Joe and Yasmin.

While the wedding day gets closer, infidelities, misunderstandings, and long held secrets upend both her relationship and that of her parents, a “love marriage”, according to the family lore which Yasmin’s believed her entire life.

A moving and revelatory story about two families, two cultures, and two people that attempt to understand each other.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Monica Ali

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