Alentejo Blue

Alentejo Blue Alentejo Blue 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 For Teresa a be

  • Title: Alentejo Blue
  • Author: Monica Ali
  • ISBN: 9780743293037
  • Page: 319
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Alentejo Blue 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 For Teresa, a beautiful girl not yet twenty, Mamarrosa is a place from which to escape For the dysfunctional Potts family, it is a way of running from trouble though not eluding it Vas Alentejo Blue 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 For Teresa, a beautiful girl not yet twenty, Mamarrosa is a place from which to escape For the dysfunctional Potts family, it is a way of running from trouble though not eluding it Vasco, a cafe owner who has never recovered from the death of his American wife, clings to a notion that his years away from the village, in the States, make him superior One English tourist fantasizes about making a new life in Mamarrosa for her compatriots, a young engaged couple, Mamarrosa is where their dreams fall apart At the opening of Alentejo Blue, an old man reflects on his long and troubled life in this seemingly tranquil place, and anticipates the homecoming of Marco Afonso Rodrigues, the prodigal son of the village and a symbol of the now fast changing world When Marco does finally return, villagers, tourists, and expatriates are brought together, and their jealousies and disappointments inevitably collide.

    One thought on “Alentejo Blue”

    1. This book is more a series of short stories with recurring and interconnected characters than it is a novel. Here in a tiny town in Portugal, the poorest province in the poorest nation in (Western) Europe, are assembled a cast of characters who are locals, tourists and émigrés, mainly from Britain. One would think the locals couldn't wait to leave this abandoned corner of the earth, and some are trying to leave. But one local has returned from a decade as a cook and bartender in the Portuguese [...]

    2. I really liked Monica Ali’s debut novel ‘Brick Lane’ but I was worried before I started reading this. It often happens that writers who had a popular debut novel decide to stick to the formula and produce book-club pleasing watered down versions of their debut. Luckily, that’s not the case here. Monica Ali did not want to be locked writing endless ‘sari & curry’ family sagas. She broke free and did something very brave, that is, completely departed from her debut.‘Azuelejo Blue [...]

    3. Horrible book. If possible I would have given it zero stars. It felt like the author had all these characters in her head and just spit out random thoughts about each character forgetting that the reader didn't know. Most of the time it seemed like she forgot there was a reader at all. It was a painful read. No identifying characters, no one you cared about, no themes, no real story line, no climax, no ENDING. She just stopped writing. This proves, once again, awards never guarantee a good read [...]

    4. A remarkable book about the “Blue Alentejo” which is located in the Portuguese South West Region. It's called blue because most of the local houses in this part of Alentejo are white with blue stripes. I also reckon that is called blue because of the fantastic blue skies and the sea which is not far from these market towns illustrated in the book. The story take place in a small village which is called "Mamarrosa", however this name is imaginary there is no such place in Alentejo, I have don [...]

    5. At first I was concerned that this was going the Portuguese equivalent of those books about someone spending a year in Tuscany where it's always sunny and the locals are charming and colourful, so this gets bonus points for being more interesting than that. On the other hand it's *very* episodic; basically a collection of short stories. Characterisation and evocation of the landscape is strong, and Ali's prose is a pleasure to read, but I was disappointed that she spent more time on the rather s [...]

    6. It is perhaps inevitable that comparisons will be made with Ali's excellent 'Brick Lane', which is a shame, as Alentejo Blue is clearly not in the same class. The split narrative works well to produce a fairly fragmented text which, one assumes, is representative of the Alentejo itself - neither traditionally Portuguese, nor a tourist mecca, the region is problematically defined by its constantly changing population. I can't help but think, however, that more could have been made of the links be [...]

    7. It really pisses me off the way keeps effing up my reviews. I have GOT to remember to select all + copy from now on. I type out this thoughtful lovely review and it's gone. That REALLY vexes me.Regardless, I thought this was a lovely book. Quick read. I stumbled over the first chapter simply because I didn't have a good idea as to what was going on (it took place in the present lapsed to the past and returned to the present). Being from a small rural town, I could relate to all the characters. [...]

    8. Ali's second novel is vastly unlike her first, "Brick Lane," and I think this is why so many of her readers were disappointed. "Brick Lane" is one of my favorite books, and while I don't think "Alentejo Blue" compares, I still admire Ali for trying something so different. It really shows her range of writing and her desire not to be pigeonholed as a certain type of writer. It was difficult to get into the first few chapters--the voices were so dissonant and the characters didn't seem connected i [...]

    9. I loved Monica Ali's "Brick Lane" and maybe it's not fair to compare the two books, but I had high expectations for this one. The premise of this novel is great - it is set in a small village in Portugal. Have visited Portugal a couple of years ago, and loving that country, I was drawn to this book. The review says it looks at the lives of the locals in this village of Alentejo Blue and the interaction of these people with tourists who visit and other people who are passing through. So, what wen [...]

    10. Delighted to find this in the second-hand shop, having really enjoyed Brick Lane. This is more varied, following the various inhabitants of a small community in Portugal - Portuguese and ex-pat. Unfortunately it's harder work to read - some of the chapters were so opaque I still haven't got a clue what was going on. Others featured characters drawn with such skill and wit (the Potts family, particularly, the worst types of ex-pat all rolled into one squalid mass) that it was a shame to have to l [...]

    11. I wanted to like this but all through the book, I struggled to see the point of it. Set in small town Portugal, the book moves from character to character to character and I never got a grasp on the storyline, nor did I like any of the characters.

    12. I've not read Monica Ali before. I found this book tricky to continue. It meandered along, some of the characters were interesting and the audience are given tantalising glimpses into more depth, but none of it is filled out really. She skips between characters without actually making the reader care about them. The setting isn't really described in sufficient detail to give it meaning. I read it right through thinking 'it must have some interesting twist or climax', but it didn't. I'm left feel [...]

    13. A book with no real climax and no real end. It felt like all of the major action was described in the passive voice, while the most mundane details were painstakingly written out. Each chapter is from the perspective of a different character, which is a technique that can add a lot of complexity top a story. However, in this case there was too little overlap, and by the end of the book I had forgotten who these characters were and what their part war in the story. This was more like an anthology [...]

    14. This novel is really a collection of interconnected short stories, some of them more closely related than others. Ali is certainly adept at getting inside people's heads and the characters really come alive. The stories were sometimes confusing, however, in that new characters would be inserted in no introduction and it wasn't clear how they related to the rest of the novel. I think the last story was supposed to bind everything together, but it was chaotic enough to leave me unsatisfied.

    15. An enjoyable read, the author takes one remote village in Portugal and she creates a picture of several of its people, this is done in an interesting and intriguing way, you just want to know more about the lives of these people making the story an absorbing and interesting read. The author gives an amazing insight into her characters personalities and lives, I think Monica Ali is going to be a new favourite of mine, and I will look out for more books by her.

    16. another book of short stories masquerading as a novel. common theme of fictional town in Portugal could have been fun and interesting, but unfortunately was bored theoughout the whole thing. worst thing i've read this year.

    17. Where to begin in this big muddled mess?The premise for this novel was interesting - a set of short stories/novellas about characters residing in the same village in the Alentejo region in Portugal. And it would've been a good idea, if the novelist knew anything beyond the basics of Portuguese culture, i.e. Sumol and Benfica. But even if she'd done all of her homework, most of the characters weren't really fleshed out, while some were fleshed out too much - one chapter might run to a dozen pages [...]

    18. Alentejo Blue is set in this quiet, idyllic little village called Mamarrossa. It follows the lives of the people who live in this village or are even just passing through. You've got the quiet thoughts of a farmer, an overweight cafe owner, a young, pretty girl who dreams of being a governess in London.Perhaps one of the most ironic things in this novel is that the people living in the village dream of escaping to bigger and better things, while people from the city come here to escape and find [...]

    19. Reasonably well-observed perhaps (from a broadsheet travel writer’s point of view if not an author’s) and fleetingly atmospheric, but ultimately plotless and fairly pointless. This is not a novel: at best it’s a series of very loosely connected vignettes, at worst, a collection of short stories with no punchlines or purpose. Monica, we get it: you’ve been to Portugal on holiday, and think you know the country by dropping in a few passing references to its history, the names of towns, typ [...]

    20. (oh you poor thing, getting such an overall low rating here. sigh.)the structure of this novel is kind of flawed. it should have never been a novel strung together by such a weak, pointless plot thread. it should have been a collection of short stories, each with its own title, sharing only the sad, moving theme of nuanced, unbearable human conditions, and the landscape where the stories take place.The story featuring Stanton and the Potts family first appeared in the New Yorker as a short story [...]

    21. This won't be a long review. It's a loose collection of stories set in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Why, I could not make out. Emphasis is not made on the surroundings, just the general poverty and uncleanliness of its people. They don't seem to have any saving grace either, unless you consider that Ali stuck to what she knew and populated the town of Mamarrosa with English ex-pats. In fact it could be any backward boondock and we wouldn't know the difference. I think she felt guilty about t [...]

    22. À Mamarrosa, petit village de l'Alentejo aux airs de paradis perdu, la vie n'est pas toujours aussi douce qu'on croit. Et pourtant combien sont-ils à tenter ici le rêve d'une existence moins amère ? Il y a Eillen et son mari, deux touristes à la dérive, Stanton, l'écrivain exilé en quête de sens et les Potts, un couple d'Anglais marginaux. Et puis bien sûr, il y a les locaux du village, ceux qui ont toujours été là, ceux qui reviennent, riches mais déracinés, ceux qui rêvent d'ai [...]

    23. Monica Ali's Brick Lane (***1/2 Nov/Dec 2003), about Muslim immigrants in London's East End, met with critical acclaim and was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Her sophomore effort strays from the style and themes of Brick Lane but not necessarily for the better. About consciousness, worldview, culture, belonging, and identity, Alentejo Blue offers a few shining portraits of lost souls: Eileen, a tourist trapped in a dead marriage, and Teresa, a young woman hoping to work as an au pair in Lond [...]

    24. As ever with any book which is a collection of stories, some work better than others. This one isn't helped by having the characters who seem to do most to link the various strands together - the ex-pat English family - being really rather unpleasant people. Various reviews that I read while still part-way through suggest that the last chapter brings everything together. In reality, it merely focussed on the most annoying of the characters - someone whose appearance had been long anticipated and [...]

    25. This book was an enjoyable read. Monica Ali's writing is very unassertive and her words and descriptions have flowing, calm quality. I had read her first novel, Brick Lane, a while before. That was an Indian book, and I was very curious to see how she tackled writing about Portugal. Usually I think of authors of Indian books as sticking to the genre. But this novel (a compilation of loosely interconnected stories, actually) is so cultually deep it is astounding. It's not just told through the pe [...]

    26. 2.5/5There isn't much to say about this book. In any case I think I made the right decision of reading this book first and saving Brick Lane for later.So basically the book is constructed by little stories here and there about people living or spending sometime in Mamarrosa (or it's whereabouts), a small town in the Portuguese region of Alentejo. I think this book had a lot of potential, I liked Ali's writing style but it all felt really confusing. It's interesting that there are lots of changes [...]

    27. Although well written, I can only give this book 3 stars. It concerns the lives of the residents and visitors to a small village in the Alentejo region of Portugal but fails to go into any depth regarding the characters and there is very little in the way of a story to link them together. According to the text Alentejo blue is a colour but the title may well be a pun given that not one of the characters is in any way happy! The book starts with the suicide of an 87 year old man and it doesn't ge [...]

    28. OK, here's the start of my Summer experiment, which I am oh-so-cleverly calling 'Fiction A-Z'. I'm going to use my local library and pick (and read) one novel or book of short stories from an author whose last name starts with successive letters of the alphabet. The catch--I can't have ever read a book by this author before. They might be newer books, they might be classics from authors I've missed to date. It just depends on what catches my eye the day I pick the book out.Fiction A-Z 'Book A': [...]

    29. As with Zadie Smith and Brick Lane this is another book that took me a while to get around to reading. This is a story of a small town in Portugal told through various residents and passers by. The characters are interesting and diverse, some you like some you don’t but their stories weave together all coming together at the end. I also finished On Beauty recently which to me is a similar type of book in that it focuses on the characters rather than intricate plots and stories. The difference [...]

    30. I read this on vacation while in the Dominican Republic and maybe the sunny setting helped to bring the village of Mamarossa, Portugal alive. I'm not sure why others have given this lower reviews, I thought it was absolutely lovely. It was really a book about people and more like a collection of miniature stories told from different people, woven together seamlessly. The characters were diverse, dynamic, completely believable, and likeable. It definitely has a Virginia Woolf vibe, though I'd sta [...]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *