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.
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
AN ECOPY OF THE BOOK
Not having read the blurb for this book, I was expecting a novel. Instead I got a wonderfully humorous account of Anne's visit to Bangladesh. I loved the easy writing style and the characters almost jumped off the page. Even though I have never been to Bangladesh I found myself looking back to when I first lived abroad and agreeing with so many things that Anne faced - the language barrier, cultural differences and the desire to feed any stray foreigner are top of the list.
This memoir also serves as a reminder of what Bangladesh must have been like at the beginning of the twenty-first century - when Anne returns three years later the advent of technology makes it a changed place. Somehow she manages to create a humorous account without being disparaging or condescending. I also learnt a lot about local customs from this book.