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A review of Love Marriage, by Monica Ali

Love Marriage

Yasmin Ghorami is getting married … which involves her Indian parents having dinner with her fiance’s rich, feminist, out-there mother in North London. The awkwardness of this evening catapults these two families into surprising re-formations.

Yasmin’s mother, the messy but caring Anisah, arrives at this fateful dinner party in a florid mix of strange colours, bringing with her a whole lot of food, because that’s her way.

In contrast ,Joe lives with his mother, Harriet, in a very flash house, where someone else cooks the food and does the housekeeping, while Harriet writes books and gives lectures.

Somehow, weirdly, Anisah and Harriet end up in a window seat talking animatedly, and Anisah is invited to a women’s group run by Harriet to teach them about Islam.

Yasmin is a doctor, following in her father’s footsteps. Baba enjoys nothing more than testing out case symptoms with his daughter, figuring out diagnoses together.

But he can’t stand the way his son Arif floats about the house doing nothing.

As Anisah becomes more involved with Harriet and her women friends, the two families are starting to unravel, and Joe the fiancé throws a curve ball into the relationship that also sends Yasmin and Joe spinning in different directions.

As the characters entangle and disentangle, I was completely wrapped up in their world. Nothing about this novel is predictable. It is deeply moving, and hugely interesting on multiple levels.

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