Monica Ali has written her first novel since the popular and well-received Brick Lane. I was delighted to be given an ARC of this title and was eager to read it. To me, it was worth the wait between the two books.
First, think about the title. It is not Love, Marriage or Love and Marriage but Love Marriage. Readers learn that the title is not about the sequencing of relationships but rather about a love (not arranged) marriage. This seems to refer to the marriage between protagonist Yasmin’s parents but could also refer to Yasmin’s upcoming marriage to Joe. Readers who follow the characters will learn, not surprisingly, that relationships can be complicated, fraught and sometimes places where there is dishonesty.
Yasmin is the child who has done mostly what was expected of her. She has studied hard and is in the process of becoming a doctor like her father. Yasmin’s brother is adrift as the book opens. He has a third class degree in Sociology so the world is not on his doorstep offering employment.
Yasmin is engaged to Joe. He is white and a fellow doctor. There is at least one big thing that he has not shared with Yasmin. Arif’s girlfriend Laura is pregnant and due shortly before Amina’s wedding. Early in the novel, Arif is not dealing with this. What will happen in each of these relationships?
Then, there are the parents.Yasmin and Arif’s parents were raised in India where they were of different castes. Yasmins father is a self-made man (mostly). Yasmin’s mother takes care of everyone. I love that she was described as short and cozy, not chubby. Was their marriage truly a love marriage?
Joe’s mother is a well-known feminist. Once she invites Yasmin and her parents over for a meal, all bets are off. Spiraling begins. For example, suddenly Yasmin and Joe may be married by an imam when they wanted a civil ceremony. As the reader continues this book that can be funny and poignant much will happen.
Love Marriage is an involving read. I recommend it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for this title. All opinions are my own.