Love Marriage is a ebook you slip into very comfortably. All goes nicely for Yasmin. She’s engaged to a fellow physician she loves, her mother and father Shaokat and Anisah adore her fiancée Joe, and his activist mom Harriet treats Yasmin as household.
Everyone is completely happy aside from her layabout youthful brother Arif who picks holes in all the pieces. In this case it’s Harriet’s in-your-face feminism. The issues she’s written, the risqué pictures, and so forth, would make a religious Muslim household blush.
Only, Yasmin’s Indian-origin Muslim household isn’t religious, notably her atheist father who proclaims that her mom prays for each of them. They take pleasure in their drinks, dwell in a white group, and combine, combine, combine! Which actually annoys her mom, as a result of she has to journey far to purchase Hilsa and would a lot quite dwell in Indian communities like Wembley, Southall or greatest of all Tooting the place there are extra Muslims. “Why ought to we dwell right here like mice?”
There are a number of thorns of course, like Yasmin’s embarrassment when her mother and father meet Harriet. It’s not the accents, her father’s boring brown swimsuit and her mom’s loud costume that trouble her as a lot as the class distinction. That assembly goes too nicely for Yasmin’s consolation as Harriet and Anisah bond surprisingly nicely and try to show her easy marriage ceremony right into a semi-religious circus.
From right here all the pieces goes downhill. Misgivings floor, flaws are revealed, no character is spared, not even Yasmin who at all times noticed herself as Ms Goody Two-Shoes.
Joe has a horrible secret, and indicators up for remedy. Harriet thinks it’s about his estranged father, however she’s terribly frightened as a result of, so far as she is aware of, therapists at all times blame moms. Arif has at all times had severe points together with his father, issues get out of hand and Anisah has to decide on between her husband and her son. Yasmin finds Harriet controlling and mildly resents the shut relationship she has along with her son. Will there be a love marriage in spite of everything? Is the title a joke?
Even the bits in the novel that aren’t about the main characters are fascinating, like the sufferers and workers in the aged care division the place Yasmin works. The charming 96-year-old Mrs Antonova who insists that she’s simply bored, not depressed, the NHS, and the privatisation of custard lotions.
Parties with Harriet result in stimulating discussions on artwork, Brexit, bigotry, and Islamophobia. On the different hand there’s the hijab-wearing Rania, Yasmin’s greatest buddy, who breaks guidelines when she appears like, and when she will get trolled complains, “To be truthful to the Islamophobes they’re average in comparison with some of the Muslims. Or possibly simply much less creative about the methods wherein they’d like me to die.”
While issues disintegrate throughout the course of the novel (some of the points do appear exaggerated), they arrive collectively once more in a way that is a bit too pat. But then, studying Monica Ali just isn’t about the story alone. It’s about the experiences that she writes about, her observations, and the manner she writes as nicely — heat and participating.
By Monica Ali
pp. 499, Rs 899