Brick Lane

by

Monica Ali

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Hasina Character Analysis

Nazneen’s younger sister, and the secondary protagonist of the book. Hasina is as beautiful and rebellious as Nazneen is plain and timid. At sixteen she shocks her parents by entering into a love marriage with Malek, the young nephew of the village sawmill owner. Then she leaves Malek to avoid his beatings and trusts her future to Mr. Chowdhury, who finds Hasina work as a sewing woman in a garment factory where she is very happy for a time. When she is fired for a rumored liaison with a co-worker, Mr. Chowdhury, furious at what he sees as her betrayal of their relationship, brutally rapes her. Hasina, broke and depressed, resorts to prostitution, eventually meeting her second husband, Ahmed, who later deserts her. While living in a home for fallen women, Hasina is discovered by Lovely and James, a wealthy couple who employ her as a house maid. The reader becomes familiar with the ever-changing circumstances of Hasina’s life through her letters to Nazneen, which, while written in broken English, are smart and savvy, full of wry observations about the disparities between men and women and the hypocrisy of the rich and powerful.

Hasina Quotes in Brick Lane

The Brick Lane quotes below are all either spoken by Hasina or refer to Hasina. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Brick Lane published in 2003.
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Why should we give dowry? I am not a burden. I make money. I am the dowry.”

Related Characters: Shahnaz (speaker), Hasina
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

This is what happen and afterward I cry. All the time I thinking my life cursed. God have given me life but he has curse it. He put rocks in my path thorns under feet snakes overhead. Which way I turn any way it is dark. He never light it. If I drink water it turn to mud eat food it poison me. I stretch out my hand it burn and by my side it wither. This is what he plan for me.

Related Characters: Hasina (speaker)
Related Symbols: Animals
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

Fly way and find some water I tell him. But he do not fly just sit there never stretch the wing and call like as if all his brothers better join there on roof where he find some secret like paradise.

Related Characters: Hasina (speaker), Nazneen
Related Symbols: Animals
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1 Quotes

Silent. Nazneen fell asleep on the sofa. She looked out across jade green

rice fields and swam in the cool dark lake. She walked arm-in-arm to school with Hasina and skipped part of the way and fell and they dusted their knees with their hands. And the mynah birds called from the trees, and the goats fretted by, and the big, sad water buffaloes passed like a funeral. And heaven, which was above, was wide and empty and the land stretched out ahead and she could see to the very end of it, where the earth smudged the sky in a dark blue line.

Related Characters: Nazneen (speaker), Hasina
Related Symbols: Animals
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Brick Lane LitChart as a printable PDF.
Brick Lane PDF

Hasina Character Timeline in Brick Lane

The timeline below shows where the character Hasina appears in Brick Lane. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
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...he’ll get his promotion, but the prayer comes after her plea for another letter from Hasina. (full context)
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...to sleep and soon she is dreaming of her home in Gouripur where she and Hasina are girls again, playing together and being doted on and scolded by their parents. She... (full context)
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...far enough to visit Razia, whose company is a welcome distraction from Nazneen’s concern for Hasina. Six months have passed since Hasina’s last letter, and that letter was short and hurried.... (full context)
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...that her sister made a love marriage. Nazneen then recounts her sister’s story, beginning with Hasina’s incredible beauty, which everyone in the village considered a curse. But the marriage had turned... (full context)
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...possibly miss out on a promotion now. One week later, Nazneen gets a letter from Hasina. At first, it thrills her. Then it crushes her spirits, and this time she doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...meaning. She heads for a park bench, realizing she is lost, which is fitting because Hasina is lost as well. (full context)
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Nazneen sits on the bench and recalls the contents of Hasina’s latest letter, the one that threw her into such despair. In the letter, Hasina writes... (full context)
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...in the park grass. She has gotten herself lost in order to feel something of Hasina’s pain, but she realizes, too late, that it is a pointless exercise. Neither she nor... (full context)
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...Curled there, it looks like a pink python. Chanu comes home and begins talking about Hasina’s predicament and how there’s really nothing that can be done for her now. He hums... (full context)
...although she supposes it was Razia who told her about Nazneen’s troubles with Chanu and Hasina, and the thought amuses her. (full context)
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...burning Nazneen feels when she urinates. Nazneen shows Razia a letter she recently received from Hasina. Hasina is now in good spirits. She likes her apartment and her landlord, Mr. Chowdhury,... (full context)
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...Pagla, a man in the village thought insane because he was always reading. Nazneen and Hasina used to follow him around, teasing him about books and his habit of carrying an... (full context)
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One day, Nazneen and Hasina see Makku Pagla’s umbrella bobbing in the well, and they suspect that he has killed... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...to his grandmother’s cousin but that Nazneen considers proof of the baby’s blood relation to Hasina. Chanu calls the boy “Ruku,” but his real name is Mohammad Raqib. Nazneen can tell... (full context)
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...skaters and the audience was applauding for her. Now, when she gets a letter from Hasina, she lets herself daydream that she, too, is an independent woman. Then she is remorseful... (full context)
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Such sadness bored Hasina, so she dragged Nazneen away and they raided the local store, looking for tamarind and... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Sometime later, Nazneen wakes from a dream in which Hasina is working in a garment factory, ironing collars, then her own hand, then her face.... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...moment. She thinks about cleaning the fridge, about buying more toilet paper, about writing to Hasina. She gets out of bed, dresses, and begins composing a letter. She tries to tell... (full context)
Chapter 7
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This chapter is made up entirely of letters from Hasina to Nazneen. The letters begin in May 1988 with Hasina expressing sympathy over the death... (full context)
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The second letter, dated September 1988, is full of news. Hasina has moved to a larger apartment in the Narayanganj district of Dhaka. Mr. Chowdhury helps... (full context)
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The day Hasina is writing of is hartal, or an official day of striking. Mr. Chowdhury is against... (full context)
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Hasina ends her letter telling Nazneen that she is waiting for hers. She congratulates her on... (full context)
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In her next letter, dated November 1988, Hasina writes of Nazneen’s beautiful apartment. She supposes Nazneen has grown used to the lovely corner... (full context)
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Zainab is the mother of the family who lives in the apartment behind Hasina. An unpleasant woman, she is always complaining. She thinks that the apartment building will soon... (full context)
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The factory consists of three main areas: one contains the sewing machines (this is where Hasina works), one is for cutting and finishing (this is where the men work), and a... (full context)
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Hasina began her work at the garment factory as a runner, carting thread and cloth around,... (full context)
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...later, she has had to work ever since and believes she was born to suffer. Hasina feels for her, but sometimes Renu reminds her of Rupban and at those times Hasina... (full context)
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Hasina writes again in January 1988, observing that Nazneen’s letters are so short they end almost... (full context)
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...protesting outside, saying it is a sin for men and women to work together. To Hasina they are the true sinners, using God’s name to tell a lie. Aleya’s husband has... (full context)
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Zainab, meanwhile, has been telling Hasina to watch out. Once the jute cutters find out there’s a garment girl in the... (full context)
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...end up breaking bricks. She’s not being metaphorical, she says. On her way to work, Hasina walks by a brickyard where poor women and children chip away at bricks with small... (full context)
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In her next letter, dated March 1989, Hasina congratulates Nazneen on her pregnancy. She predicts that now, with so much at stake, Chanu... (full context)
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It is now July, and the rains have come. Rain is pouring in Hasina’s apartment and it’s ruined her furniture. A jute cutter, Hussain, says he will fix her... (full context)
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Hasina writes again in August, telling Nazneen that she, too, thinks of Rupban sometimes but she... (full context)
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...says that the rumors are damaging all of their chances of making a good marriage. Hasina has not told her friends that she is married. When she first met them, she... (full context)
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It is now September, and Hasina writes to ask Nazneen to burn her last letter. Rupban would never have threatened to... (full context)
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It is January 1990, and Hasina congratulates Nazneen on her new daughter, wishing that the little girl might grow up to... (full context)
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Hasina speaks to Shahnaz about her shunning and Shahnaz tells her that everyone knows about Hasina... (full context)
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Hasina’s next letter is dated April 1990. She writes of Abdul insisting on escorting her home.... (full context)
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It is now August, and Hasina tells Nazneen not to worry about her. It is quiet around her at the garment... (full context)
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...they have an appetite only for Zainab’s washing. Zainab is furious, but Hussain just laughs. Hasina is thinking about getting a few chickens herself. (full context)
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Hasina’s latest letter is dated January 1991. She writes of talking to Shahnaz, who says she... (full context)
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The garment factory manager who calls Hasina to the office is famous for his scaly skin and fish smell. Abdul is in... (full context)
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It is now March, and Hasina tells Nazneen she is overjoyed to hear that her baby is walking. She asks her... (full context)
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Hasina’s chickens have begun to lay eggs. She cooks meals for the jute cutters and they... (full context)
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Hasina listens to the jute cutters’ tall tales, remembering a time when Hamid took her and... (full context)
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Hasina begins her next letter by confessing to Nazneen that she has brought shame on herself.... (full context)
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At the same time, Hasina writes that everything that has happened to her up until this point is her fault.... (full context)
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Three months pass, and Hasina does not know what to do. She ran away with her husband. Then she ran... (full context)
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It is now February 1992, and Hasina writes happily about having another niece. She tells Nazneen she thinks of her new daughter,... (full context)
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In October 1992, Hasina writes a short letter to Nazneen, telling her that Zainab and her family have disappeared.... (full context)
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Almost a year has passed. It is September 1993, and Hasina apologizes for not writing sooner. She has begun to visit the garment factory, hoping to... (full context)
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Hasina’s next letter is dated July 1994. She tells Nazneen she is happy to hear about... (full context)
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It is March 1995, and Hasina has received an offer of marriage from Ahmed, an albino man who supervises the night... (full context)
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That same month, Hasina writes again, saying that Ahmed is pressing for marriage. Hussain thinks the match is a... (full context)
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Hasina’s next letter is dated April 1995. She gives thanks to God for her newfound happiness.... (full context)
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It is still April and Ahmed has gone to the bazaar. Hasina goes up on the roof with the other wives. They look down at the street... (full context)
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Hasina asks after Shahana and hopes she is having a good time at school. She reassures... (full context)
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Hasina’s next letter is dated May 1995. She writes to Nazneen about Ahmed’s appearance, how he... (full context)
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It is still May 1995. Hasina’s house is clean, and she wiles away the hours writing to Nazneen. Ahmed, she says,... (full context)
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Hasina writes, too, that she isn’t sure what sort of pills Nazneen is taking to cure... (full context)
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A month later, Hasina writes of attending Hussain’s funeral. It is a small ceremony with only a few jute... (full context)
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The bad patch gets worse. Ahmed is no longer satisfied with Hasina’s housework and he is now claiming that Hasina has put a curse on him. Why... (full context)
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The next letter is dated a year later. Hasina tells Nazneen not to worry. When she has a stable address and a good job,... (full context)
Chapter 8
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When Hasina was still working at the garment factory, Nazneen went to Chanu to ask if they... (full context)
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...the middle of the night and eats curry cold over the kitchen sink, thinking of Hasina and the letter she sent about the both of them living under the same moon.... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...in secret places around the apartment. She plans to send most of the money to Hasina. The rest she will use to buy little things for Shahana like shampoo and clips... (full context)
Chapter 11
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It is January 2001, and Hasina is writing from the Dahnmondi district of Dhaka. She tells Nazneen that she has much... (full context)
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...the sides, usually the Taj Mahal or a mosque, but sometimes peacocks and film stars. Hasina stops to ask about a particularly beautiful face a man is painting. He tells her... (full context)
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Hasina mentions that she has been waiting a long time for a letter from Nazneen. She... (full context)
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Hasina’s next letter is dated February. She mentions that she has finally gotten Nazneen’s letter. All... (full context)
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...too much for her. Jimmy loves to play with guns and swords, and Daisy follows Hasina around like a duckling. At first Daisy missed the old maid, who was fired for... (full context)
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When Jimmy and Daisy are occupying each other, Lovely finds time to tell Hasina her problems, and they are many. She worries that her best friend, Betty, is more... (full context)
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...She thinks people won’t be happy until they’ve all been turned out on the street. Hasina tells her not to be so down. God has provided for her and he will... (full context)
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Jimmy has grown as affectionate with Hasina as Daisy, and Hasina closes her letter by observing to Nazneen that all she ever... (full context)
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Nazneen finishes reading Hasina’s letter and puts it away. Razia, dressed in a Union Jack sweatshirt despite the hot... (full context)
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Back in the apartment, Nazneen begins a letter to Hasina, attempting to explain to her what is happening on the estate. What she writes makes... (full context)
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There is another letter from Hasina, dated April 2001. She tells Nazneen that everything is the same. She is fine, working... (full context)
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It is May, and Hasina writes of witnessing something horrible on the city streets. Robbers shot two men in front... (full context)
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James and Lovely have dinner together and, while Hasina cleans around them, James grumbles about the country needing more stability and the opposition party... (full context)
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In Hasina’s next letter, also dated May, she writes to Nazneen about finding out through the grapevine... (full context)
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Nazneen turns back to her letter to Hasina. She can’t remember what she found so funny. Her head is full of household cares... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...She dives down into the silence and darkness, hearing the voices of her daughters and Hasina and Chanu and Karim. When Dr. Azad comes to visit, she finally opens her eyes.... (full context)
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...while. The only thing that really gives her peace is pulling out the stack of Hasina’s letters and reading them, absorbing her sister’s words like breath. (full context)
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In a letter dated June 2001, Hasina writes of telling Lovely about Monju. Monju was married off at thirteen and soon had... (full context)
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...at raising people’s self-esteem. Perhaps low self-esteem is Monju’s problem, Lovely says. She leaves and Hasina drifts around Lovely’s room, touching the expensive objects there and wondering if touching these things... (full context)
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In Hasina’s next letter, dated July, she thanks Nazneen for her money and says she hopes she... (full context)
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Holding Daisy, Hasina kisses her hair, thinking of how loving the girl is, like holding a beautiful, fragile... (full context)
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In the next letter, also dated July, Hasina writes of Lovely’s latest dinner party, this one for Betty and her husband. The men... (full context)
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The next letter is dated August. Hasina writes of going back to the hospital to visit Monju. Lovely supports her completely in... (full context)
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...which Chanu is calling “nervous prostration.” Nazneen does not remember Razia’s visit. She thinks about Hasina and her chaotic life and how Hasina always blames herself for every misfortune. She thinks... (full context)
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...is again shocked. His face can hardly register his level of surprise. Nazneen says that Hasina is proof that the study is bunk. Then she tells him everything about Hasina that... (full context)
Chapter 16
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In a letter dated August 2001, Hasina writes about Lovely’s restlessness and discontentment. Lovely is angry partially because Betty recently had her... (full context)
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Later, Hasina lies down in the guest room bed, loving the feel of the sheets. Then she... (full context)
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...for her money. Nazneen gives it to her, realizing that everything she has saved for Hasina is now going to Mrs. Islam. One day, Razia visits. Tariq has not stopped using... (full context)
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Nazneen is trying to think how she would describe Karim to Hasina in a letter. Karim is on the computer, reading about the September 11 terror attacks... (full context)
Chapter 17
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In a letter dated September 2001, Hasina writes that Monju has died. Hasina is glad that her friend is now relieved from... (full context)
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Hasina had the chance to give the good news to Monju before she died, and she... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Nazneen has another letter from Hasina. In it, Hasina writes of having an unquiet mind. She tends the children and cleans... (full context)
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Hasina goes on to say that she has a horrible secret she must confess. She was... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Nazneen holds Hasina’s letter in her hand. It is like a butterfly, whose fragile wings have the power... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...cabbie coming to pick them up, the house they will build, the possibility of bringing Hasina to live with them. Then he grows a little quieter, and confesses that all this... (full context)
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...day. She will put it in the bank and then she will send some to Hasina. She hasn’t had a letter from her sister in two months. Chanu, on the other... (full context)
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In another call, Chanu tells Nazneen that Hasina has vanished. She has run off with the cook, and her employers are furious. He... (full context)
Chapter 1
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Hasina, Rubpan and Hamid’s second child, is born three days after Banesa’s death. She is beautiful... (full context)
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...While she runs cold water over the gash to stop the bleeding, she wonders what Hasina is doing now. It is not a new thought. She misses her sister desperately and... (full context)
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...off at the airport, and if Chanu will want his corns trimmed again, and what Hasina might be up to. Nazneen goes to her bedroom and stares for a moment at... (full context)
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Nazneen takes a shoebox from the wardrobe and begins rereading a letter from Hasina, who writes of being so happy in her marriage to Malek she is almost frightened.... (full context)