A journey of discovery in Brick Lane, London

Salaam Brick Lane is a fascinating book. It’s a depiction of Brick Lane as a social fabric of different facets. The tensions that occur in it are played down by comic situations or comic reactions to them.

Tarquin Hall, although he was the centre of the experiences in Brick Lane through his direct involvement with its inhabitants, remains somehow detached when it comes to the evaluations of the values of the different ethnic groups. His involvement was mainly through the Asian community through Ali, the Bengali landlord and the Indian aunties he came to know through his engagement to Anu who is of Indian origins. It was through them that he depicted the traditions of the Muslim and Indian communities in East London.

Tarquin entered Brick Lane as a full stranger as he had never lived in it before. While seeking the original cockneys in East London, he discovered that the inhabitants of England are of different origins from different lands. The current settlers, especially from Asia, are just an addition to the population fabric. He left Brick Lane,-after settling in it for a year- with the sensation that, as he said at the end of the book, ” Perhaps I would always remain something of an outsider.”

The book makes a good reading, especially for those seeking to know a part of London vibrant with racial and cultural interactions, featuring the riches and the predicaments of each.

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