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Seductive Slide into Despair

Elizabeth Lowry: Monica Ali, 6 July 2006

Alentejo Blue 
by Monica Ali.
Doubleday, 299 pp., £14.99, June 2006, 0 385 60486 6
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... and no. Following her ambitious and pacy first novel about Bangladeshis in the East End of London, Monica Ali has emphatically changed direction by setting her second book in Portugal. This will inevitably alienate some of her fans. But the change of subject should not really come as a surprise. After Brick Lane was published, ...

Come hungry, leave edgy

Sukhdev Sandhu: Brick Lane, 9 October 2003

Brick Lane 
by Monica Ali.
Doubleday, 413 pp., £12.99, June 2003, 9780385604840
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... intention was to provoke more trouble following an incident four months earlier in which Altab Ali, a young clothing worker from Wapping, had been set upon and murdered by three men in nearby Adler Street. A photograph from the period shows a swastika scrawled on a wall above the message ‘We’re back.’ Today a park on Whitechapel Road is named after ...

A Book at Bedtime

William Gass, 10 November 1994

The Arabian Nights: A Companion 
by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 344 pp., £20, January 1994, 0 7139 9105 4
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... We all know about Aladdin, Sinbad, Ali Baba, the rook’s egg, the thieves’ cave. There’s a rule which requires us to begin our lives as children. We will have seen or heard and thereby passed a Night or two, in some pop or papped-up version, even if we have never leafed the picture book or read Burton’s luxuriant prose ...


Glen Newey: Life with WikiLeaks, 6 January 2011

... on the US to attack Iran. The Libyan government’s threat of dire retribution if Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi died in jail in Scotland concentrated the mind of the UK envoy in Tripoli, who was already talking of his release as a fait accompli several days before its announcement by the executive. American emissaries in Rabat treat Morocco’s ...


Patrick Cockburn: Muqtada al-Sadr, 24 April 2008

... of the US. On 7 April he even said he would dissolve the Mehdi Army if asked to do so by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and leading Shia clerics in Iran. There is less to this promise than meets the eye. It is easy enough for Iraqi militias to disband, take their weapons with them, and reassemble the following morning. But this time Muqtada’s enemies seem ...

My Heroin Christmas

Terry Castle: Art Pepper and Me, 18 December 2003

... Rich band) and nearly dying, Pepper managed to get himself into Synanon, the celebrated Santa Monica rehabilitation centre and Atlas Shrugged-style beach commune. He lived there for several years in the early 1970s and met Laurie, a fellow resident who became his third wife. He gradually cleaned up – at least partially – and began a heroic if ...

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