Alentejo Blah

The Guardian digests Monica Ali’s Alentejo Blue in a few deft paragraphs, and sums it up in one line:

“Mad Portuguese and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”

Other reviews have been politely underwhelmed, though there’s some faint praise here.

2 responses to “Alentejo Blah”

  1. Baboo,I think you’re being too dismissive, probably even before reading the book (or have you read already?). Ali is moderately young, moderately good-looking, quite talented and has a super-agent in Nicole Aragi. So how bad could the book be? And she deserves grace points for having to deliver the second novel of a two-book deal. It’s like writing at gun point. Some of her old short stories stored in her purse, and that how-to book (How to link up short stories into a literary novel?, ed. P. Mishra, Picador, 2000) might have come handy.

  2. She’s still a wonderful stylist, but Alentejo Blue was disappointing. It’s not that the book is bad; it’s just not particularly good. Beautiful, lackadaisical sentences, finely crafted but empty prose; the involvement that she displayed in Brick Lane seems to be missing here. It does read, really, like a book that was written at gunpoint!

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