Title: ALENTEJO BLUE - Scarce Fine Copy of The ...
Publisher: New York City, NY: Scribner, 2006
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 226 pages. Published in 2006. The author's second novel. One of the most important literary events of our time. The first appearance of the title in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Monica Ali's "Alentejo Blue". A book that captures lost lives with genuine empathy and in beautiful prose. "Written with the sensitivity and grace that readers loved in 'Brick Lane', this is the story of a village community in Portugal, told through the lives of men and women whose families have lived there for generations and some who are passing through: Teresa, a beautiful young teenager; the dysfunctional Potts family; Vasco, who has never recovered from the death of his American wife; an English tourist who fantasizes about making a new life; and a young engaged couple whose dreams fall apart" (Publisher's blurb). An absolute "must-have" title for Monica Ali collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Monica Ali. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. This title is a contemporary classic. This is one of few such signed copies of the First American Edition/First Printing available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce signed copy thus. Shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 2003 and nominated for the National Book Circle Critics Award for Fiction in 2003 for "Brick Lane". Selected by Granta Magazine as one of the "Twenty Best Young British Novelists". One of the most brilliant British novelists of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER MONICA ALI TITLE IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 0743293037. Bookseller Inventory # 9888
Synopsis: Following her National Book Critics Circle and Los Angeles Times Book Award-nominated, bestselling debut, Brick Lane, Monica Ali's splendid Alentejo Blue "rewards readers with characters who etch themselves into one's memory" (People).
Set in a small Portuguese village, Alentejo Blue is a story of displacement and modernization told through the lives of the locals and of people who are just passing through. The residents of Mamarrosa whose ancestors occupy the graveyards are restless and struggle to make a living. They watch as tourists and expats move in.
Monica Ali's characters are profoundly sympathetic. Her understanding of their dreams, desires, and disappointments is rare and moving. Alentejo Blue is evidence that Monica Ali is one of the most gifted voices of her generation.
Review: With the 2003 publication of her acclaimed debut novel, Brick Lane in 2003, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Monica Ali established herself as a keen observer of the human condition, in all its ordinariness and its follies. The setting was England, pre-and post-9/11, in an apartment house occupied mostly by Bangladeshi immigrants. In Alentejo Blue, the setting is a village community in Portugal, called Mamarossa. Once again, Ali has turned her unerring eye on the inner landscape of her characters. In a series of episodic vignettes, she limns the daily lives, hopes, wishes, and dreams of villagers and visitors alike. Her special gift is capturing the small detail that shows the person: the filthy rag that Vasco mindlessly uses to wipe the tables in his cafe as he muses about his dead American wife and what he will eat next; the smelly never-washed clothes that drunken China Potts appears in again and again. She doesn't shrink from the disgusting or the gross, but her revelations are never gratuitous. This is information the reader needs.
Stanton is the blocked writer who sits in Vasco's cafe, taking in the local scene. He becomes deeply involved with the truly messy Potts family: drunken father, spacey mother, promiscuous daughter and lonely young son. Interestingly, they make a stab at pulling themselves together; Stanton's answer is to find someplace else to sit, perhaps in a more northern clime.
Two of the best stories are those of young Teresa, a village native, who has a chance to leave for London and an au pair position. Will she be able to leave? Ali writes beautifully of all the things weighing on her decision. The other story is that of an engaged couple from England, taking a break from wedding planning, her mother, church, and all the folderol. He is adamantly against the whole charade; she doesn't want to talk about it. That isn't what their distance is about anyway, as we find out
The villagers are waiting for the arrival of Marco Alfonso Rodrigues, a man who left years ago and is reputed to possess great wealth. Everyone has a different idea of what will happen when he arrives and how his presence will impact the life of the village. When he finally arrives late in the story, nothing is quite as anticipated.
One of Ali's characters says, "We think we live like kings, but we are puppets on the throne. We send out proclamations and fancy we are making History and forget that it has made us." With great compassion and insight, Ali writes of her "kings," and we learn how their history has, indeed, formed them. She leaves us to wonder if they can change, or if they really want to. --Valerie Ryan5 Second Blog Post
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