Book Review: Corner Shop – Roopa Farooki

Title: Corner Shop
Author: Roopa Farooki
ISBN: 9780312577872
Pages: 384
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Literary Fiction, Multicultural Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary:

Corner Shop is the story of one family and three generations of the Khalil family.  Delphine has fallen out of love with her husband Jinan and is spending more and more time with her father-in-law, Zaki.  Much older than Jinan, Delphine originally had a relationship with Zaki before marrying his son years later.  Delphine and Jinan’s son, Lucky, has vivid dreams of playing soccer for England, and perhaps even winning the World Cup for them.  As each of these people move forward with their lives, they must question what they want, and what price they are willing to pay to achieve their dreams.

Review:

I immensely enjoyed Roopa Farooki’s novel Half Life, so I was eager to delve into Corner Shop to read about the Khalil family, with all its problems and idiosyncrasies.  Corner Shop didn’t quite have the drama of Half Life; it was much breezier, yet serious in its own ways and in its underlying message.

Delphine was the character who most appealed to me, which I found somewhat strange.  I expected to dislike her, given that it was clear where her “spending more time” with Zaki might lead from the very beginning of the book. However, I found myself sympathetic, able to understand why she felt torn.  She had given up everything to raise Lucky, and was thrilled to do so.  But now that he was older and had dreams of his own, she felt lost and bereft, and it seemed like Jinan didn’t notice or care too much.  Zaki, on the other hand, had plenty of time for her, as Delphine was always very important to him.

The parallel story of Lucky was also very interesting, as well as the message – what happens when you get exactly what you want, when everything you’ve ever dreamed of comes true at a young age?  What happens then?  Though I feel that this question took a little too long to come to fruition, as there wasn’t much time to discuss the ramifications, it lingers over the entire novel.  Whether it’s Delphine, Lucky or Zaki, the novel is about the unintended consequences of achieving your dreams.

Corner Shop wasn’t without its flaws though.  The book splits off with Zaki’s story towards the end, and it just didn’t make sense to me.  Additionally, though I was interested in the characters, I never really connected with them like I’d hope.  Also, the entire book just seemed disjointed and convoluted at times.  Finally, the ending was also a bit of a disappointment.  That’s not to say that this book isn’t worth reading at all; I did enjoy it.  It’s just that these issues did really jump out at me as I was reading the book, so I wanted to at least mention them.

While it wasn’t quite as compelling as Half Life, Corner Shop was an interesting family drama that I did enjoy.  I am looking forward to reading Bitter Sweets, Farooki’s debut novel, next.

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from Amazon.com

Comments

  1. It think I’ll start with Half Life instead of this one. I hope her debut is better match for you.

  2. It think I’ll start with Half Life instead of this one. I hope her debut is better match for you.

  3. I’m surprised too that you liked the main character, considering that she has a relationship with the father and the son (which seems pretty creepy from the outside). I’d love to try this author some day.

  4. I’m surprised too that you liked the main character, considering that she has a relationship with the father and the son (which seems pretty creepy from the outside). I’d love to try this author some day.

  5. Delphine sounds pretty confused to me! Not sure this is the book for me.

  6. Delphine sounds pretty confused to me! Not sure this is the book for me.

  7. I LOVED Half Life, the first of Farooki’s novels I’ve read. I’m disappointed to hear Corner Shop isn’t as good. I look forward to your thoughts on Bitter Sweets. I hope it lives up to Half Life!

  8. I LOVED Half Life, the first of Farooki’s novels I’ve read. I’m disappointed to hear Corner Shop isn’t as good. I look forward to your thoughts on Bitter Sweets. I hope it lives up to Half Life!

  9. I also think that Delphine’s relationship with both the father and the son is kind of strange. But the fact that you sympathized with her can only mean that the author did a really good job of making her character’s motivations understandable. I am really curious about this book now and am going to have to check it out! Great review!

  10. I also think that Delphine’s relationship with both the father and the son is kind of strange. But the fact that you sympathized with her can only mean that the author did a really good job of making her character’s motivations understandable. I am really curious about this book now and am going to have to check it out! Great review!

  11. I am a little…okay, more than a little troubled…by the fact that Delphine had a relationship with her father-in-law first then married his son, Jinan and now she’s spending more and more time with her FIL again. It just smacks of “soap opera” too much. And what kind of values is she passing on to her son behaving like that. It sounds like she needs attention from males.

    I think that Half-Life sounds more like a book I would like. I really enjoyed your review of Half-Life and have listed it on my tbr list.

    Thank you!
    ~ Amy

  12. I am a little…okay, more than a little troubled…by the fact that Delphine had a relationship with her father-in-law first then married his son, Jinan and now she’s spending more and more time with her FIL again. It just smacks of “soap opera” too much. And what kind of values is she passing on to her son behaving like that. It sounds like she needs attention from males.

    I think that Half-Life sounds more like a book I would like. I really enjoyed your review of Half-Life and have listed it on my tbr list.

    Thank you!
    ~ Amy

  13. Might not be for me, but thanks! for sharing.

  14. Might not be for me, but thanks! for sharing.

  15. I picked up Half Life from the library. Not started it yet – will get to it soon though. This one I read sometime ago. I also thought the relationships weird but we do know we live in a weird world where lots of things are not the way it seems.

  16. I picked up Half Life from the library. Not started it yet – will get to it soon though. This one I read sometime ago. I also thought the relationships weird but we do know we live in a weird world where lots of things are not the way it seems.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I read Bitter Sweets a while back and enjoyed it. I borrowed Half Life from the library. I didn’t get very far but was enjoying it. I set it aside to read a FirstReads. I will definitely pick it up again. I will read Corner Shop too at some point.

    monagarg(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

  18. Anonymous says:

    I read Bitter Sweets a while back and enjoyed it. I borrowed Half Life from the library. I didn’t get very far but was enjoying it. I set it aside to read a FirstReads. I will definitely pick it up again. I will read Corner Shop too at some point.

    monagarg(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->