Marriage Material Epub Ú Unknown Binding

Marriage Material Epub Ú Unknown Binding

Marriage Material ✺ Marriage Material Epub ✽ Author Sathnam Sanghera – To Arjan Banga returning to the Black Country after the death of his father his family's corner shop represents everything he has tried to leave behind But when his mother insists on keeping the shop To Arjan Banga returning to the Black Country after the death of his father his family's corner shop represents everything he has tried to leave behind But when his mother insists on keeping the shop open he finds himself being dragged back forced into big decisions about his imminent marriage back in London and uncovering the history of his broken family the elopement and mixed race marriage of his aunt Surinder the betrayals and loyalties loves and regrets that have played out in the shop over than fifty years.

10 thoughts on “Marriage Material

  1. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    So this is the British Asian specifically Sikh small family retailer experience 1960 2010 I bet if I rounded up say ten Goodreaders that would be fun and got you all to – er – brainstorm – oh wait you can’t say that any – thought shower is the new term – about what might be in a novel about a Sikh cornershop family 1960 2010 based on The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett you’d come up with 95% of everything that happens in Marriage Material which by the way is a really crap title There are no surprises Every box is ticked Every expectation is met This is the very bowelly essence of a three star novel Its three starriness is profound Its good heartedness and casual intimacy like a series of long catch up chats with a dear friend mean it never topples into two star territory But nor yet does it take wings and soar into the four star skies where swoop the thrilling dangerous birds of literature It’s like the family it describes – confined pinched harried penned in by their god damned dreary bloody corner shop The author describes his first novel as a “remix” of The Old Wives’ Tale which is a fabulous frumious fulsome five star book I think remixing and rebooting classic novels is an interesting idea except when it’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – another one I read Tom All Alone’s “takes place in the space between Bleak House and The Woman in White” as the author said It’s all good More please But better please I'll give you an idea of how this book plods and clunks somewhat My aunt was eating a salad alone in the living room while my mother ate sabzi separately in the kitchen Of course this is how shopkeeping families often dine the need to serve customers means you rarely sit down together and conseuently have little sense of yourselves as a social unitOh how dull Social unit? This might be some kind of excellent observation of shopkeeping families but it sounds craply tedious and I would have suggested Sathnam press the old HIGHLIGHT DELETE there But carping aside will I be reading Sathnam Sanghera’s second novel? Y y y esssssssss

  2. Cecily Cecily says:

    This is explicitly based on Arnold Bennett's wonderful Old Wives's Tale my review with a contemporary British Asian twist There's no need to be familiar with OWT in fact I suggest you read that rather than this It's had pretty good reviews in the broadsheet press and in terms of plot it certainly does what it claims but it lacks the warmth and writing skill of Bennett it attempts humour and demonstrates every Asian and shop owning stereotype you can think of The end result is like the novelisation of the BBC sketch show Goodness Gracious Me As both are written by British Asians it's not for me to criticise the portrayal but it made me feel a little uncomfortable There is some character development only a bit but exposition is clunky and the plot is borrowed so Sanghera is not an author I'll look out for in futureNote to non Brits re Asian In the UK Asian is not derogatory and refers to those whose families hail from India Pakistan and Bangladesh It is not used for those from SE Asia China Japan etcImage British Sikh wedding Source Getty ImagesStructureIt's a story of three generations of a Sikh family who run a corner shop convenience store in Wolverhampton narrated by Arjan the thirty something grandson of the original owners Mr and Mrs BainsThe chapters alternate between the modern day and his mother's childhood and young adulthood both strands being triggered by a death leaving a woman at the helm The first couple of times the switching wasn't very clear but in the end it or less workedThe final two chapters tie up the story with an unconvincing and overly dramatic surprise It ends with what would be a predictable finish were it not for what just happened in the previous chapter All very rushed and unconvincing Caste Class and RaceThis book unlike OWT is primarily about fitting in and not fitting in the eternal immigrant story compounded by issues of race Indian caste and towards the end British class Integration versus identity and to what extent compromise can be hypocritical Sadly it doesn't really have any great or original insights on these tricky but important issuesSimilarly racism is experienced in many ways by Asians and to a lesser extent from Asians No surprise but the characters' reactions to it were neither inured nor intimidated and somehow just didn't feel likely but what do I know? The need to serve customers means you rarely sit down together to eat and conseuently have little sense of yourselves as a social unit Given that they live above and in the shop and all help out there even as children this is the opposite of what one might assume It could be the key to so much But it didn't seem to be Asian Culture especially re WomenSeveral characters resist aspects of their culture and religion and some embrace it at stressful times Some of the superstitions Mrs Bains and later her elder daughter Kamaljit fall back on are easy to mock even though they gain comfort from them Parallels are drawn between Punjabi culture and Jewish and royal life and at times the exposition was annoying and unnaturally unsubtle yet I don't feel I've learned muchWhat should have been the most interesting strand concerns the role and relationships of women Bennett managed it a century earlier All the female characters struggle with this to some extent who to marry and how how much education girls should have how much to defer to one's husband attitudes of dress tensions of sisterhood but most especially the two determined widows who run the shop at different times which tallies with Sikh teaching of gender euality Similarly the loving but prickly relationship between sisters Kamaljit and Surinder has so much potential for interest but never rings uite true And as for Freya again so much potential as a character but not believably fleshed outMaybe Bennett was just better at understanding womenOther Comparisons with The Old Wives' TaleThe author admires Bennett and he has Surinder class him as one of the great writers but he doesn't do him justice I gave OWT 4 and this only 2 The structure is very different not a criticism OWT is in four sections childhood one for each sister's adult life and a final one when they come together again whereas this alternates past and present We learn less about the auntsister who goes away and far about what happens to the grandson of the original ownersThere is also mention of politics I seem to remember some things about the local council and mayor in OWT but nothing significant enough for me to mention in my review This story though is framed by Enoch Powell's infamous Rivers of Blood speech about immigration a strike by bus drivers who wanted to be allowed to wear turbans and riots in London in 2011 These mentions felt deliberate rather than being a natural part of the story Plot wise it's write by numbers with every significant thing that happens in OWT happening herePlot listview spoiler The shop and family name is Bains which doesn't sound very Indian and on page 102 Mrs Bains says it's NOT the family's name over the door The original owner is bedridden and the shop is run by his wife and teenage daughters The older daughter is plain; the younger is pretty clever shrewd and fights to continue her education One assistant leaves to open a draper's shop and ends up as a rival and successful business The younger daughter flirts with a travelling salesman so doesn't check on her father He dies and she is racked with guilt The elder daughter marries the loyal but lowly assistant to the disapproval of the mother The younger daughter elopes with the salesman who turns out to be a feckless drunk The older daughter and her husband run the shop and eventually have a single spoilt son The younger daughter works hard saves wisely and ends up rich in part from the hospitality trade When the older daughter is in poor health the younger one is traced and comes back to help rescuerun it hide spoiler

  3. Margitte Margitte says:

    Sixty two year old Mr Bains and his or less forty five year old wife Mrs Bains ran a shop in Victoria Road in Wolverhampton where they raised their two daughters Kamaljit the oldest and Surinder the younger intelligent of the two sisters England was not a friendly place for immigrants from their former colonies and succeeding in the new country took determination and skill on many levels The Sikh religious group were left out when India was partitioned into Pakistan for the Muslim and India for the rest of the people It led to many of them feeling robbed of their rights and moving to England in the hope of establishing their own homeland with their caste system and culture intact However within the group there was social differences since many of the lower casts members like Tanvir Banja a Chanmar boy immigrated to England to free themselves of this class discrimination although Tanvir would be employed by Mr Bains in Bains Stores as a servant again But events would lead to Tanvir managing to get married to Kamaljit of a higher caste which would free him at last to become the man he always wanted to beThe story consists of two parallel narratives being intertwined throughout the book both starting with the death of the male heads of their households first Mr Bains and then Tanvir Banja his son in law The tales circle around the women left behind especially the outcome of the circumstances in which the two girls would have to face hostilities and challenges within their Sikh communities as well as from their hostile white English neighbors in town At one point the shop doors did not have 'tingling bells' but grating alarmsAt first it was extremely confusing to figure this out since both narratives evolve around the same characters and the same shop but forty years apart Tanvir and Kamaljit had a son Arjanthe narrator of the second tale who were brought up in the liberal views of his father Tanvir and who would clash with the principles and fundamentalist traditions of Dhanda and his son Ranjit Dhanda was Mr Bains's closest friend who with the latter's help set up shop with the agreement that they would never become competition for one another Dhanda was a political activist fighting for the rights of the Indian immigrants to wear their traditional head gear for children being taught their homeland languages for Indian cultural events to be allowed in British schools But he was also a thrifty businessman becoming uite wealthy while Mr Bains and afterwards Tanvir his son in law would not benefit from the agreement at allThe reader is never sure what will happen next and will sit back in awe at the suprising endingThis is a remarkable tale very well written bathed in the social political challenges cultural debates interracial relationships love cruelty and often satire of this beautiful family If you have enjoyed Zadie Smith's White Teeth you will absolutely love this book as well I recommend it with an open mind and heart

  4. Baljit Baljit says:

    This is just so bloody brilliant because it cuts so close to the bone in creativity humor n political incorrectness Yes Sanghera plays up to the stereotypes of the Punjabi community of northern England but his accounts are based on real life as can be attested by anyone who has lived there for any length of time The community is a subset of the wider immigrant community maintaining certain customs and caste hierarchy which has long since been forsaken by other punjabi communities outside the UK This book is all at once bold and refreshing I will certainly look out for this writer's other works

  5. Gisela Hafezparast Gisela Hafezparast says:

    This is my second book from this author and I am a real fan He writes from his own experience as a second generation Asian growing up escaping and being forced back in Wolverhampton by family ties and culture which he thought he managed to escape from The story evolves around the family of a typical Asian corner shop its owner and family and the wider Indian community It's about looking back on how it was to live and grow up both in Enoch Powell's Black Country during he Rivers of Blood riots as well as in the Thatcher's 80s as an Asian kid But prejudice does not only exist in this story between white and Asian and vice versa but this story takes up the huge problems and ineualities which come with the Indian cast system which the Asian community clearly has brought with them to the UK It is also about the story of women and girls role what makes them the best Marriage Material Education in this case is a BAD thing It is easy to read this book and to just stipulate that the problems are all within the Asian community which holds especially their girls back However for me at least it had very clear synergies with some of my own experiences in the Germany's 80s and I know white girls during this time in the UK and I am sure elsewhere were fighting the same fight For the past 30 years I have been in a mixed racereligion marriage which I am happy to say is very happy but bridging especial cultural differences has not always been easy especially for me as a white European being accepted into an Iranian Islamic culture And just like in this book it's the women who are most difficult to convince that inter cultural and racial cooperation friendship and marriage is a good thing for both Why this should be is difficult to say but if you grow up with a narrow scope for your own life maybe it is difficult to let others have freedom I don't knowBefore you think this is a very depressing story it is that only in parts others are very funny The protagonist description of both cultures and ways of lives and reasons for doing things can be hilarious and I had to laugh very often If you don't let it hurt you ignorance can be funny never mind where it comes from Sanghera writes also in a very loving and respectful way of his communities he does clearly now manage to feel at home in both He has a great love for his family despite everything Great book really good writer would recommend it to anyone interested in these subjects

  6. Bob Bob says:

    This took a lot of getting into In fact it was chapter ten before I actually got my head around the structure of the book and started to enjoy it The second half of the book was great The biggest problem was the time shifting It jumped from the sixties to today but without actually making it clear that this had happened I found myself completely confused at some points and couldn't even remember who the characters were and what position they held in the narrative It's possible that I didn't pay enough attention at the beginning reading back the information is there but I just couldn't lose myself in the storyThe writing is great and the research pays off in that I came away understanding a lot about sikhs than I did before I startedThe ending was sudden and left me feeling as though there was unfinished business In fact given the situation before the final chapter the ending didn't really come off as convincing at all Overall I enjoyed it and I'm very curious to see what others make of the story but can't give it than two stars

  7. Stephen Stephen says:

    an interesting novel looking at 3 generations of a family running a cornershop in the fictional district of blakenfields in wolverhampton from the overly racial tensions of the late 1960's to the modern day and liked the family dimensions between each family member and the hardships they go through for love and honour

  8. Veronica Veronica says:

    Intensely average said a review on and I have some sympathy with that The good It gives a lot of insight into British Sikh culture which I knew nothing about It's a light read funny in places and touching in others Good research into life in Wolverhampton in the 1960s and 70s and the modern day parts are vivid and clearly based on personal experience The bad it felt uite shallow and Sanghera often seemed to be going for cheap laughs Apart from the above there was nothing really original or surprising here and after all the rave reviews I expected something The characters weren't compelling; Surinder and Kamaljit were well drawn but I didn't find Arjan particularly sympathetic The end was predictable apart from a melodramatic twist in the penultimate chapter Still it gets three stars from me as it was a uick fairly pleasant read I suspect I'd have enjoyed his memoir

  9. Jon McKnight Jon McKnight says:

    SATHNAM Sanghera author of The Boy With The Top Knot has just become The Man With The Top Notch Novel Under His BeltFor his debut novel Marriage Material is an unputdownable and thoroughly rewarding read and not just because it's the most accurate and interesting evocation of cornershop life since the TV sitcom Open All HoursLike most journalists who write novels Sathnam majors on authenticity and credibility; although it's a work of fiction everything in it feels like it did happen or could have happened and he never resorts to coincidence but supplies us instead with first rate realismIn some ways the subject matter is bleak cultural in fighting control freak families and racism but Sathnam presents it to us so engagingly so engrossingly that we can't stop turning the pagesIt's ostensibly a tale about a Sikh family running a cornershop in Wolverhampton set partly in the present and partly in the Sixties and Seventies when Enoch Powell's Rivers Of Blood speech set the cat among the pigeons in a country that was largely to our retrospective shame and embarrassment deeply and openly racistThe Sikh culture doesn't come out of it terribly well but neither does the dominant and intolerant white culture of the time And should anyone misguidedly use this book or Boy with the Topknot A Memoir of Love Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton as a stick to beat the Sikh culture with they might be well advised to look in the mirror and examine their own culture's shortcomings firstTake arranged marriages and obsession with money for instance Sikhs and other British Indians may be criticised by some on both counts but if you took arranged marriages and enuiries about how many pounds a year a potential suitor makes out of Jane Austen's novels she'd have had precious little left to write about for her mostly white English audience of the timeAnd before anyone scoffs at the characters in Sathnam's novel for hating each other and worse because they're from different castes take a look at the white British bigots in Northern Ireland who behave exactly the same in the 21st Century and still have to live either side of so called Peace Walls to stop them beating the Hell out of each other in the name of the same forgiveness preaching God that they both claim to believe inAlthough Sathnam doesn't uote it in this novel I couldn't help thinking of Gandhi's reaction when he was asked what he thought of English civilisationIt would be a very good idea he saidThat aside the novel is a lid lifter on what it was like and is like to be a British Sikh In much the same way that Goodness Gracious Me transformed the image of British Asians and made national treasures of Meera Syal Sanjeev Bhaskar Kulvinder Ghir and Nina Wadia this novel and Top Knot are seminal works that will change anyone who reads themBut that risks making the novel sound like it belongs on the Worthy But Dull shelf It's anything but Sanghera's characters are lovable and loathable engaging and infuriating and most importantly we can't help caring about themThe central character deserves a seuel or two just as David Nobbs did with Henry Pratt and Sathnam must surely have enough material to go the distanceThis novel is beautifully and intelligently written witty and thought provoking and I can't wait to see what Sathnam does for an encore

  10. Helen Helen says:

    I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it I grew up in Wolverhampton at much the same time as this book is based and felt 'foreign' enough although I had only moved from Ayrshire so it was really interesting to see things so vividly portrayed from the point of view of an immigrant Sikh family The characters in the novel are so credibly drawn and come to life on the page so that you feel you know them Interesting too to see yet again and in a completely different situation how one brief chance encounter can change the path of your life Some excellent passages here and there which you'd want to read out loud and share such as the list comparing characteristics of Sikh and Jewish families priceless

Leave a Reply

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