A BLONDE BENGALI WIFE
BY ANNE HAMILTON
Release Date: Originally released October 2010.
Reprinted 3 November 2015
They all said that Bangladesh would be an experience…
For Anne Hamilton, a three month winter programme of travel and ‘cultural exchange’ in a country where the English language, fair hair and a rice allergy are all rare in the extreme was always going to be interesting, challenging and frustrating. What they didn’t tell Anne was that it would also be sunny, funny and the start of a love affair with this unexplored area of Southeast Asia.
A Blonde Bengali Wife shows the lives beyond the poverty, monsoons and diarrhoea of Bangladesh and charts a vibrant and fascinating place where one minute Anne is levelling a school playing field ‘fit for the national cricket team,’ cobbling together a sparkly outfit for a formal wedding the next.
Along with Anne are the essential ingredients for survival: a travel-savvy Australian sidekick, a heaven-sent adopted family, and a short, dark, and handsome boy-next-door.
During her adventures zipping among the dusty clamour of the capital Dhaka, the longest sea beach in the world at Cox’s Bazaar, verdant Sylhet tea gardens, and the voluntary health projects of distant villages, Anne amasses a lot of friends, stories…and even a husband?
A Blonde Bengali Wife is the ‘unexpected travelogue’ that reads like a comedy of manners to tell the other side of the story of Bangladesh.
From the opening page of this book where you join Anne in the arrivals hall, you are taken on an amazing journey. Leaving behind a policeman whose English vocabulary is limited to ‘I love you’ she is taken by the SCI charity representative on a white knuckle ride in a three wheeled auto-rickshaw through the traffic. The detail of all the sights and sounds is so vivid you really feel you could be riding with her.
During her stay in Bangladesh it’s as if you are sitting on her shoulder. We’re very up close and personal, making it much more than a diary and a travelogue. For me it was a unique opportunity to experience both the country and its people through her eyes. Anne has some wonderful encounters, forms many friendships and meets some amazing characters while she is there.
During the time we are with her, she describes in detail the Bangladeshi culture and their hospitality interspersed with moments of comedy. We journey across many different vistas; from cities to beaches to jungle learning about the people she meets and the places she visits.
A very thought provoking read, totally different from the books I usually review. Beautifully written it is thoroughly deserving of five stars.
I would like to thank Brook Cottage Books and the author for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT ANNE HAMILTON
Anne Hamilton wrote A Blonde Bengali Wife after she fell in love with Bangladesh on her first (of many) visits there. The travelogue inspired the charity, Bhola’s Children, and continues to support it. Before she became a full time writer, editor and tutor, Anne’s career was in social work and community health – which led to many of her earlier international travels. Anne can never quite decide if she comes from the East of England or the West of Ireland, so she compromises by living in Scotland, with her small son; they still travel when they can. Anne has a PhD in Creative writing from the University of Glasgow, and is the editor of local online magazine, Lothian Life. She is currently revising and seeking representation for her first novel, Chasing Elena, and working on her second.
Twitter: @Anne_ABBW & @AnneHamilton7
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