cover image Love Marriage

Love Marriage

Monica Ali. Scribner, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-982181-47-5

Booker-nominated Ali (Brick Lane) returns with the complex yet breezy account of a 26-year-old London medical student who questions whether she really wants to be a doctor or if she’s merely carrying out her father’s wishes. Yasmin Ghorami’s family is Indian and Muslim, and she is engaged to white upper-class colleague Joe Sangster, whose mother, Harriet, is a famous feminist activist. As wedding planning commences with Harriet and Yasmin’s mother, Anisah, at the helm, tensions rise between the couple, but it turns out religious and cultural differences are the least of the roadblocks. The delicate web of familial relationships and drama is held up by a vibrant supporting cast: Yasmin’s underachieving brother and his girlfriend’s unplanned pregnancy; Anisah’s midlife awakening to her own power, and Yasmin’s father’s increasing alcohol use and isolation as he clings to his conservative religious beliefs. Everything leads toward the reveal of a dark secret held by the Ghoramis that threatens to undermine the engagement. The characters’ brisk discussions on politics, culture, and race skate over ideological divides, the substance of which emerges in dramatic irony and creates a textured portrayal of an immigrant family. This is sure to please Ali’s fans and win some new ones. (May)