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Greetings from Bury Park

This study guide will help you analyze Sarfraz Manzoor’s autobiography Greetings from Bury Park. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: Greetings from Bury Park (2007)
Author: Sarfraz Manzoor
Genre: Autobiography

Sarfraz Manzoor (b. 1971) is a British journalist, broadcaster, and writer of Pakistani origin. He presents documentaries on BBC Radio 4 and is also a screenwriter. Manzoor co-wrote the script for the film Blinded by the Light (2019), which is an adaptation of his autobiography, Greetings from Bury Park. The book was published in 2007 and focuses on Manzoor’s life after emigrating to Britain with his mother and older siblings, and on the impact of Bruce Springsteen’s music on Manzoor’s life.

Excerpt

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Physical setting

The physical setting alternates between the different districts in Luton where the Manzoor family lives. At first, the Manzoor family lives in Bury Park, in a “two-bedroom terraced house on Selbourne Road” (My Father’s House, 30%). Later on, Navela and Sohail convince their parents to move to Marsh Farm, a Luton suburb that is closer to their school. Sarfraz leaves his family house when he moves to Manchester to study, and then to London to work. He also spends a summer in the US, where he often returns for Bruce Springsteen’s concerts. 

As well as this, the contrasting depictions of Britain and Pakistan help readers understand Sarfraz’s struggle to find his identity. The two settings also help Sarfraz create a complex portrait of his parents, who have different interpretations of the concept of home. 

Bury Park

The two-bedroom terraced house in Bury Park is Sarfraz’s first home when he immigrates with his mother and older siblings to Britain. The house is rather modest and the family initially cannot afford to furnish it: 

We slept side by side on the living-room floor on bed sheets spread out on the maroon carpet. When we eventually bought furniture it was all from salvage yards and second-hand stores, which my father visited every weekend without fail. (My Father’s House, 32%)

Sarfraz also recalls the hard times of living in Bury Park, when “Everything we bought was from second-hand stores or jumble sales and they were bought with Green Shield stamps” (The Ties That Bind,4%). When...

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Greetings from Bury Park

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