Subjects Freshman Year Reading African American Studies African Studies American Studies Anthropology Art, Film, Music and Architecture Asian Studies Business and Economics Criminology Education Environmental Studies Foreign Language Instructional Materials Gender Studies History Irish Studies Jewish Studies Latin American & Caribbean Studies Law and Legal Studies Literature and Drama Literature in Spanish Media Issues, Journalism and Communication Middle East Studies Native American Studies Philosophy Political Science Psychology Reference Religion Russian and Eastern European Studies Science and Mathematics Sociology Study Aids


E-Newsletters: Click here to be notified of new titles in your field
Click here to request Desk/Exam copies
Freshman Year Reading
View Our Award Winners
Click here to view our Catalogs
Greetings from Bury Park

Greetings from Bury Park

Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!

Order Exam Copy
E-Mail this Page Print this Page
Add This - Greetings from Bury Park

Written by Sarfraz ManzoorAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Sarfraz Manzoor

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 288 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: April 8, 2008
  • Price: $13.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-307-38802-5 (0-307-38802-6)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

Sarfraz Manzoor was two years old when, in 1974, he emigrated from Pakistan to Britain with his mother, brother, and sister. Sarfraz spent his teenage years in a constant battle, trying to reconcile being both British and Muslim, trying to fit in at school and at home. But it was when his best friend introduced him to the music of Bruce Springsteen that his life changed completely. From the age of sixteen on, after the moment he heard the harmonica and opening lines to “The River,” Springsteen became his personal muse, a lens through which he was able to view the rest of his life. Both a tribute to Springsteen and a story of personal discovery, Greetings from Bury Park is a warm, irreverent, and exceptionally perceptive memoir about how music transcends religion and race.

“In testifying to rock and roll's power to spark personal and perhaps even social change, Greetings from Bury Park provides a fascinating look at one family's Westernization and at the pressure to assimilate that so many immigrants face. It also reminds us of the joyous liberation we felt when we discovered our own tastes and delighted, for the first time, in music our parents couldn't stand.”—The Washington Post

“Fulfills the promise of a good memoir to entertain, surprise and enlighten. But also, it never fails to illustrate that good music is a powerful force in transcending cultures, heritages and backgrounds.” —The Pittsburgh-Tribune Review

“Fascinating. . . Manzoor’s devotion to The Boss demonstrates the surprising force music can have on the formation of your identity, if the right music finds you at the right time.” —The L Magazine

“Charming and affectionate. . . . [Greetings from Bury Park] rises above the predictable coming-of-age genre on the strength of Manzoor's unflinching honesty and his unique world view. . . . [Manzoor] poignantly shows how he comes to admire the life his father led even though it wasn't what he chose. . . . You don't have to be a Springsteen fan to enjoy this book or understand Manzoor's devotion. You just have to recall a time when you were still open enough that music had the power to shatter the world view you inherited.”—The Miami Herald

“A clever memoir from an unlikely fan of Bruce Springsteen. . . . Along with his Sikh pal Amolak, who introduces the author to the Bruce, Manzoor tries to rebel against tradition, finding meaning in the lyrics of Jersey's native son.”—The New York Post

“With crisp, fresh writing and an appealing voice, Manzoor invites readers along with him on his journey from a dutiful but somewhat rebellious boy to a thoughtful, wise adult.”—Booklist

And from the UK:

“The age-old immigrant’s story of hungry hearts and divided loyalties is delivered with uncommon honesty and understanding. . . . What gives the memoir its special kick is that the Pakistani-born Briton, now 35, manages to stake out his life, more hopeful than his parents’, not by becoming an assimilated Englishman, nor by turning to radical Islam, but by becoming, of all things, a Springsteenite. In the songs of the Catholic Bruce Springsteen. . . the keema aloo-loving boy in working-class England finds a way to grasp his parents’ dreams while also claiming new dreams of his own. . . . The overwhelming impression is of a dark-skinned Woody Allen hoping to remake himself as a bruiser from New Jersey’s Asbury Park.” —Pico Iyer, Time (Europe)

“Quirky. . . . Brilliant. . . . The book is about many things — the impact of multi-culturalism, a coming-of-age story and Nick Hornby-style documentation of musical obsession — [but] it is Manzoor’s relationship with his father, a factory worker who dies when he is 23, that lies at its heart.”—The Independent

“You don’t need to be a fan of America’s blue-collar poet — or a British Asian for that matter — to enjoy this deeply touching memoir. . . . One of the most honest depiction second-generation experience I have come across.” —Chitra Rawaswamy, Scotland on Sunday

“A richly humane, often smile-inducing memoir.” —The Observer

“The title of Manzoor's affectionate memoir is, as any Springsteen fan will recognize, a play on that of the Boss's 1973 debut album, and it was the New Jersey songwriter's music to which the young Manzoor clung during a childhood in a strict Pakistani Muslim household in the Luton neighborhood of Bury Park. . . . Manzoor leaps clear of cliche by virtue of the story he has to tell, and the insight, compassion, humor and self-awareness with which he tells it. . . . Wonderful.” —The Sunday Times

“Manzoor's story will be familiar to migrants all over the world. . . . Luton is to London as Jersey City is to NYC: proletarian versus metropolitan, periphery versus centre, boredom versus cool. . . . Greetings from Bury Park successfully evokes not only a particular time and place, but, more importantly, a pervasive sense of marginality. . . . A very personal narrative of love, separation, loss and guilt.—The New Statesman

“A small wonder which reads like a melancholy refit of the Buddha of Suburbia, where boredom replaces bohemia and real life is only glimpsed in a Springsteen lyric. The result is a genuinely moving rite of passage in which pop music plays an essential and disposable role.”—Mojo magazine

“The bizarre but compelling idea that Manzoor, feeling neither British nor Pakistani, and lacking Pakistani role models, finds some sort of solace in the American, working-class, sociopolitical lyrics of the Boss provides an intriguing backdrop to his life. . . . Greetings from Bury Park vibrantly displays a modest and unpretentious sense of optimism, and offers the hope that by connecting with our own choices in music we can transcend cultural and generational differences to reach personal freedom without denying our need to belong.”—The Guardian

“Manzoor's story will be familiar to migrants all over the world. . . . Luton is to London as Jersey City is to NYC: proletarian versus metropolitan, periphery versus centre, boredom versus cool. . . . Greetings from Bury Park successfully evokes not only a particular time and place, but, more importantly, a pervasive sense of marginality. . . . A very personal narrative of love, separation, loss and guilt. At the heart of the book is the tragedy that only after his father's death did Manzoor lay aside his resentment and begin to get to know him. In a memoir so concerned with belonging, foreignness and roots — even down to the family's careful cultivation of a vegetable garden — the shift in values and priorities that follows Mohammed's death assumes a poignant significance. . . . In the 1980s, in the absence of Pakistani working-class heroes with whom he could identify, [Manzoor's] life was transformed by the music of ‘The Boss.’ In the gradual negotiation of freedom, beautifully depicted in these pages, Manzoor reminds us of the deep sense of hope and rationality that lies at the core of both Islam and modernism: 'Reason to Believe.’”
—Suhayl Saadi, The New Statesman

“A small wonder which reads like a melancholy refit of the Buddha of Suburbia, where boredom replaces bohemia and real life is only glimpsed in a Springsteen lyric. The result is a genuinely moving rite of passage in which pop music plays an essential and disposable role.”
Mojo magazine

“A tender, funny, book, which captures the weirdness of second-generation British lives as well as anything I've read.”
—Hari Kunzru, author of The Impressionist

“The age-old immigrant’s story of hungry hearts and divided loyalties is delivered with uncommon honesty and understanding. . . . What gives the memoir its special kick is that the Pakistani-born Briton, now 35, manages to stake out his life, more hopeful than his parents’, not by becoming an assimilated Englishman, nor by turning to radical Islam, but by becoming, of all things, a Springsteenite. In the songs of the Catholic Bruce Springsteen. . . the keema aloo-loving boy in working-class England finds a way to grasp his parents’ dreams while also claiming new dreams of his own. . . . The overwhelming impression is of a dark-skinned Woody Allen hoping to remake himself as a bruiser from New Jersey’s Asbury Park. . . . At a concert in New Jersey once, an American fan, taking him for a terrorist, challenges Manzoor to name his favorite Springsteen songs. As he starts to reel off the numbers that speak to him. . .the clash of civilizations suddenly begins to sound remote, and we're in the midst of a mass sing-along in which white and balck and "other" hardly make any sense at all.” —Pico Iyer, Time (Europe)

“The book is about many things — the impact of multi-culturalism, a coming-of-age story and Nick Hornby-style documentation of musical obsession — [but] it is Manzoor’s relationship with his father, a factory worker who dies when he is 23, that lies at its heart. . . Quirky anecdotal detail. . . . Brilliant humor. . . . As a musical tribute, this offers an interesting insight into the psyche of an avid fan but it is as a childhood memoir — as painful in parts as it is endearing — that Manzoor’s book really comes to life.” —The Independent (London)

“You don’t need to be a fan of America’s blue-collar poet — or a British Asian for that matter — to enjoy this deeply touching memoir. . . . One of the most honest depiction second-generation experience I have come across.” —Chitra Rawaswamy, Scotland on Sunday

“A richly humane, often smile-inducing memoir.” —The Observer (London)

“He may not have had Luton in mind when he wrote it, but Bruce Springsteen unwittingly summed up Sarfraz Manzoor's teenaged frustrations when he sang, in the concluding couplet of Thunder Road, "It's a town full of losers/And I'm pulling out of here to win." The title of Manzoor's affectionate memoir is, as any Springsteen fan will recognize, a play on that of the Boss's 1973 debut album, and it was the New Jersey songwriter's music to which the young Manzoor clung during a childhood in a strict Pakistani Muslim household in the Luton neighborhood of Bury Park. . . . Manzoor leaps clear of cliche by virtue of the story he has to tell, and the insight, compassion, humor and self-awareness with which he tells it. . . . Wonderful.” —The Sunday Times (London)