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Salaam Brick Lane: A Year in the New East End Paperback


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Salaam Brick Lane: A Year in the New East End + To the Elephant Graveyard + The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing: From the Files of Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator (Vish Puri Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719565561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719565564
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Well-written without mawkish pieties. Saga Magazine 'Charming, brilliant, affectionate and quietly impassioned ... it manages to be balanced, humane and life-affirming. I hope it sells out faster than cases of Chalky's "Coat de Roen"'. Guardian Tarquin Hall is right at the heart of what he writes about ... Hall's new friends spring brilliantly to life off the page ... it's hard to imagine a more moving or more telling record of lives on the edge Caroline Gascoigne, Sunday Times Amused and amusing, this is a refreshing addition to the accounts being offered of the area. Stratford Recorder Forthright and funny Daily Telegraph Fascinating and funny Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable & Faversham Focu Powerful Kent Messenger I was absolutely riveted. It's funny, enlightening and very moving ... I'm recommending it to all my friends just because it's such a good read. Kate Fox, author of Watching the English He has a fine ear for the myriad speech patterns of the East End's varied inhabitants. Daily Mail A remarkable cross-section of British society ... Hall's sympathetic, anecdotal approach is a fine counter to the appalling racism of much current tabloid journalism ... This is a fine and eloquent book. What's On UK This is a beautifully written book about a world we ignore except when it makes tabloid headlines. American Entertaining ... Hall cannily plays the bewildered public schoolboy to a range of different characters ... allows us to hear the wonderful patter of the East Enders Times Literary Supplement Fascinating and funny Sunday Times 'Entertaining' Bookseller Such a light, playful book and yet with a compelling tow which takes you into the myriad realities of life in the East End of London. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown 'A thought-provoking read ... fascinating insights into fractured lives. And Hall's affectionate portrayals of eccentric acquaintances enhance this touching portrait no end' Metro 'Tender and harrowing' The Times 'He brings a sharp eye and a dry humour to his descriptions' Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times 'A gem of a book that reveals a hidden world lying right on our doorstep. As the stories unfold, so does our appreciation for Tarquin Hall's acute eye and for the gentle power of his narrative' Saira Shah, writer and broadcaster 'Salaam Brick Lane is a compelling journey of discovery by an outsider in his own city and offers an explicit glimpse of this quarter of London' Traveller

About the Author

Tarquin Hall became an under-age journalist at nineteen and spent the next ten years working in Africa, America, Asia and the Middle East. He is the author of Mercenaries, Missionaries and Misfits, an account of his early adventures; and To the Elephant Graveyard: A True Story of the Hunt for a Man-killing Elephant, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. He is married to the BBC World Service presenter Anu Anand. They live in East London.

More About the Author

Tarquin Hall is the author of the Vish Puri mysteries, set in India. The first in the series, 'The Case of the Missing Servant', was named by the New York Times as a Notable Crime Book and given starred reviews by Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist. Hall divides his times between London and Delhi with his wife, Indian-born journalist Anu Anand, and their young son.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By pm on January 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Hall's work on London's East End is beautifully written and truly makes you feel as if you are a voyeur into a world that few of us have ever experienced. The author shows a genuine sympathy for his neighbors on Brick Lane in the East End and weaves their stories into the broader tapestry of the neighborhood's history as well as that of England as a whole. Without being preachy or condescending, you feel like you know and understand the characters that Mr. Hall met in his time there; the landlord running a sweatshop in his basement, the Indian "auntie" interviewing him on behalf of his future wife's mother, and the list goes on. This is what makes the book such a pleasure and it goes so quickly that in they end you wish Mr. Hall had spent even more time on Brick Lane.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Home in Carolina on October 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read Hall's Vish Puri mysteries, I thought I'd try another of his books. This is a tale of movement, mental, physical and emotional. Finding himself in less than ideal financial circumstances, he moves into what is basically considered a slum where he learns that people, no matter what their manner of speaking or appearance may be, are all worthy of consideration, if not admiration. He realizes that he has alternatives while most of the people he comes in contact with do not. Their dogged determination to survive and flourish by whatever means comes to hand is constantly seen everywhere around him. A darker side of the human character also exposes itself in the prejudices inherent and rife in the lowest to highest "classes" of peoples. How can one judge the height of their relative status without pointing out those less worthy?
This man writes with such spot-on ethnicity that you can hear the accents, smell the odors, taste the foods and become immersed in the environs and feel like a neighbor yourself. I loved it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered "Salaam Brick Lane" after reading and reviewing Tarquin Hall's new detective novel, "The Case of the Missing Servant". In that book, set in today's Delhi (both old and New), Hall makes modern day India - both high and low - come alive, with his wonderful characters and descriptions of Indian society.

"Salaam" is non-fiction and set in early 2000's London. Hall has returned home to London, after spending much of his life as a wandering journo in India and other East Asia countries. Unable to afford a flat in a more affluent area of London, Hall rents a flat (though more like a pit) in Brick Lane in the East End of London. This area has been the home of many ethnic groups who've emigrated to London as a sort of "first stop" on their way "up" in British society. As each group has abandoned the area, other, poorer, emigrants have taken their place. The East End (right next to the City and near the Isle of Dogs) was heavily bombed during WW2.

Today the area is largely populated by Bengali Muslims (from a certain area in Bengladesh), Indian Hindus, and a scattering of Somalis, Albanians, and other groups from the old Yugoslavia. Rare are the old English "cockneys", who lived in the area until the '70's. What is astounding is the way the Muslims and Hindus seem to get along in the tight confines of the East End.

Hall's year in the East End is written in a non-sensational way. He finds friends among all the ethnic groups and seems totally accepted as a fellow "East Ender". Though the area is fairly poor, most everybody eakes out a living, some in a more "honest" fashion than others. (Lots of things "falling off the backs of trucks" in local stores.) Hall and his girlfriend (now wife) learn a lot in their year in Brick Lane and he explains it all beautifully in his book.

I'm now waiting for his third (actually his first) book to arrive. It's about a savage elephant in India. Looking forward to it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jean Val Jean on October 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
When confined to observation and its presentation, good journalists tend to make good writers. Hall is one such journalist/writer. His clear and precise style comes very handy when reading about a complex and intricate world of London East End.

His own discovery of East End is told through the lives of people he meets and gets to talk. It's not a distant and cold narrative, though. On the contrary, he is directly involved in the intricate fabric of immigrant society through his American-born Indian fiancee. Yet he manages to limit the account of his personal story to the amount that relates to people he observes.

Overall "Salaam Brick Lane" is an honest and clear account of a short slice through East End.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Should I Buy It? on July 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd become a fan of Tarquin Hall's mysteries (sadly, there are currently only two out) and wanted to read more works by him. I bought this book and really enjoyed it. Tarquin Hall has an eye for details and writes evocative descriptions. This book is set in London's East End, and while he is a white Britisher living in a somewhat racist community comprising mainly Bengalis, he's never condescending or judgmental in his observations.

Actually, I found his writing style somewhat reminiscent of James Herriot (Alf Wight), one of my all-time favorite authors. Made this book even more enjoyable.

I highly recommend this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The One Eyed Turtle on July 14, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book except that I am not from England and found the "Englishisms" to be a little overwhelming. But, aside from that I found the historical information very good reading and very profound in some areas.
Compared to Monica Ali's Brick Lane this is a larger scope of the area but in reading both books I found that one does complement the other because the characters in Brick Lane never get to see much or learn much from the area.
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