Monica Ali, Brick Lane (2004)

Brick Lane

She began to spend time at the window, as she had in those first few months in London, when it was still possible to look out across the dead grass and concrete and see nothing but jade-green fields, unable to imagine that the years would rub them away. Now she saw only the flats, piles of people loaded one on top of the other, a vast dump of people rotting away under a mean strip of sky, too small to reflect all those souls. She lowered the net curtain and watched the groups of boys who drove endlessly around the estate, even on the parts where cars were not supposed to go. There were faces she did not recognize. They got out of their cars and approached other cars. They carried an air of violence with them, like a sort of breeding, good or bad, without ever displaying it.

—Monica Ali, Brick Lane. Reading: Transworld Publishers, 2004, p.364.