Curse Of The Second Novel
Ali’s bold style is apparent in flashes, but overall it lacks depth. The locals are just so much background: stereotypes who watch Brazilian soap operas all day or slide into doleful, platitudinous observations. Ali seems more confident with the English characters, but abandons them once their stories ignite a flicker of interest. The landscape is faithfully, if monotonously evoked. It is as if the major themes of Brick Lane – community, displacement, the telling of tales, passion, political undercurrents – have been awkwardly transplanted to another environment, where they cannot flourish.