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Extended Audio Sample Alentejo Blue Audiobook, by Monica Ali Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.52 out of 52.52 out of 52.52 out of 52.52 out of 52.52 out of 5 2.52 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Monica Ali Narrator: Anna Fields Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538463536
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Monica Ali's stunning second book is a collection of stories set in the Alentejo province of Portugal, linked by characters and by a vivid sense of place and time.

Teresa is a beautiful young girl from the village who is supposed to marry a suitable man from the same community but who wants to see the world. Vasco is a café owner who is losing business to the new internet café down the road. The unseemly dysfunctional but strangely riveting Pottses are a family of ex-patriots, trying to cobble a life together, at odds with one another until they run into trouble on the outside. We also meet several English tourists: a young couple engaged to be married and confronting each other's weaknesses and idiosyncrasies for the first time and an older woman imagining a new life and fantasizing about never returning home.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A solid successor to Brick Lane…Ali proves that she isn't a one-hit wonder when it comes to writing.”

    USA Today

  • “The simultaneous sense of stasis and great change is Ali's forte, and her characters' perceptions are sharp.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Using luminous, heartfelt language, the award-winning Ali weaves a tapestry of human frailty…the brief, tantalizing glimpses of private heartbreak each character reveals are both touching and compelling…a study of collective despair and frustrated hopes.”

    Library Journal

  • One of the 2006 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Diana | 2/18/2014

    " i got about 25 pages in and had to give up. i just want to note that i've probably quit reading all of three books in my entire life; i always try to work through it, convinced there must be something worth reading in there. this novel was so aimless and tedious. i appreciate fine detail in writing, especially scenic details, but when the book is more about the sand in the road and less about the man standing in the road, i'm not sure what's left to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kady24 | 2/6/2014

    " Not my favorite book. I feel like I'd give this author another chance though. This was one of those stories that is a small snippet of time and it jumps from one character to the next. Problem is, you never really get to know any of the characters and in the end it feels like a colossal waste of time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simon | 2/3/2014

    " 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 sordid goings-on in the expat community than on the locals. Issues relating to Portuguese history and emigration are touched upon but I'd have appreciated more on this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Faith | 1/27/2014

    " i really liked ali's first book (brick lane) and despite this one being such a different book in location, subject matter, etc., i was curious enough about the characters to stay interested. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jayne Charles | 1/26/2014

    " 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 leave them to move on to someone else. Having finished the book I'm not really left with a feeling of wholeness or a central message. It read like a series of short stories only loosely connected - a bit like Trainspotting but not as funny. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Holly | 1/24/2014

    " Eh, it was OK. Nothing particularly striking about the book. It was interesting to see the author weave the stories of so many characters together to show how a small community can be so intimately connected. Set in Portugal, so naturally I was intrigued about the cultural aspects of the book. A good book to pick up and read for fun. Won't change your life, but you get to peek into the life's of others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fiona | 1/15/2014

    " It's a nice easy read which focuses more on transporting you to the Portuguese village than on a strong plot or in-depth characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chanpheng | 1/14/2014

    " I liked most of the individual stories chronicled in this book but Ali didn't combine them very well at the end of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Candice | 1/11/2014

    " Liked the book - artsy, collage of different stories weaved together "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 1/8/2014

    " I don't remember why I liked this book so much bc I read it awhile ago, but it is very well-written and deals with several different people's lives in a small town in Portugal. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tonni | 11/21/2013

    " Just put the book down and walk away...you'll thank me later! Sadly, I have no idea what to do with the copy I own. This book was so bad I didn't want to donate it to the library and when I tried to sell it at a garage sale, I talked a buyer out of buying it!!! Door stop anyone? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michaela | 11/8/2013

    " Interesting idea for a book, but the outcome actually dissapointing - I am suprised I was able to stick to the end...too many characters and stories with no plot at all...far from Brick lane... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephen | 10/16/2013

    " I need to have a discussion about this book: was it a novel? was there a climax really? was it more a fictional ethnography? HUH? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mera Sivanesan | 9/16/2013

    " it took me forever to finish this book and i'm not entirely sure why. i think it was the chapter on the british ex-pat author come to portugal for one last shot at beating his writers block that put the breaks on this for me. wouldn't read it again. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Margaret | 4/29/2013

    " Disappointed. Couldn't find its rhythm. Or rather I couldn't find it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lexi | 10/6/2012

    " Not a fan. Although I read the book a year or so ago and do not remember it very well, I DO remember that the plot was completely disjointed. The only thing that really saves this book is Ali's lovely way with words. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 7/29/2012

    " I like the disjointed but parallel narratives in this book. I also like how Ali refuses to characterize the book as novel or short stories, but only refers to it as a book, in interviews. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ric | 7/13/2012

    " Monica Ali has a way with making you fall in love with the human heart and care for her characters. She sweeps into a small Portugal town, and envelops you into their daily lives while making you think you are sitting in the town square watching the entire episode take place in the afternoon sun. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer Fetterly | 2/1/2012

    " Terrible book. I started reading this book about a family in Portugal on the plane to Lisbon. It was so bad, I never finished reading it. That was a surprise because Brick Lane had received great reviews. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 9/13/2011

    " I liked it, and I suspect that anyone who has ever been an ex-pat, or experienced ex-pats in their own environment, would find *something* they recognized in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yodit | 8/7/2011

    " Although I love the way Ali writes, this is not her best. She probably wanted to write a novel that was totally different than Brick Lane. But it's not as good in my opinion. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joe | 4/28/2011

    " The first chapter was one of the best I've ever read. After that, there was a sharp fall-off with the introduction of less interesting characters. To me this was a disappointing novel after Brick Lane. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chanpheng | 3/20/2010

    " I liked most of the individual stories chronicled in this book but Ali didn't combine them very well at the end of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gaurett | 7/12/2009

    " I can't believe an Indian female could portray a portugeese villiage so realistically. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Eva | 6/30/2009

    " Nothing to recommend it. One of the most overrated books of the year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 3/31/2009

    " I liked it, and I suspect that anyone who has ever been an ex-pat, or experienced ex-pats in their own environment, would find *something* they recognized in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marybla | 2/28/2009

    " The setting for this novel is in Portugal. There are so many great South Asian writers but most only write about Indian culture. this book is a welcome departure from a really good writer. With that said, I did not enjoy the twists and turns of Alentejo Blue as much as I did Brickwood Lane. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bonnie Jeanne | 1/25/2009

    " The writing is often beautiful and the individual vignettes are usually quite striking, however the ending is a forced linkage of disparate lives. Perhaps I missed some common thread, other than the location.

    Of all the stories, Vasco's is the most beautiful, and most painful. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shirin | 12/28/2008

    " I just couldn't get into it, despite the fact that I hate abandoning books and really enjoyed Brick Lane. If anyone can please tell me why I should push on, please do! "

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About the Author
Author Monica Ali

Monica Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in England. She was named one of the twenty best young British novelists by Granta and is the author of the novel Brick Lane, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is now a major motion picture, and Alentejo Blue, a story collection. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.

About the Narrator

Kate Fleming (a.k.a. Anna Fields) (1965–2006), winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award in 2004, was one of the most respected narrators in the industry. Trained at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, she was also a director, producer, and technician at her own studio, Cedar House Audio.