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Corner Shop    by Roopa Farooki order for
Corner Shop
by Roopa Farooki
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Corner Shop is the story of the Khalil family living in the heart of London. Zaki Khalil left his native country of Pakistan as a young man for a better life. Now in his early fifties, he is disillusioned as he realizes he owns a corner shop, just like his father did in Pakistan. He ran away from it, only to end up in the same position. When his wife died, Zaki raised his son Jinan, but turned to alcohol and gambling to dull his senses.

Jinan was a serious child, who grew up to be a successful lawyer. Well educated, he is embarrassed that his father is a simple shop owner. Jinan married Delphine, a beautiful French woman, six years his senior. They have a fourteen year old son, Lucky, and Jinan feels blessed in his life. Delphine has it all, an adoring hardworking husband, a beautiful home, and a son. Money has never been a problem but she feels stagnated. Life is quickly passing and Jinan is so serious and regimented. She begins to ask herself if she loves him.

Lucky is a typical fourteen-year-old boy. He has a passion for soccer and hopes to play in the World Cup. He finds himself falling in love with Portia, the young girl who works in his grandfather's shop. She is very beautiful and very smart and young Lucky wants to impress her. Jinan, however, does not approve of Lucky's quest to be on the soccer team. He feels he should be concentrating on his school work so he will have a good career. This causes friction between Delphine and Jinan, as she supports her son's dream.

Not wanting to talk to her friends about her marriage, Delphine turns to her father-in-law Zaki and admits that she has been thinking of leaving Jinan. Hearing Delphine's confession stirs up feelings Zaki thought were long buried. Years ago, Zaki and Delphine had a relationship, but it didn't work out, so they moved on and she married Jinan. Now both discontented, Zaki and Delphine pick up where they left off.

Each member of the Khalil family is looking for fulfillment in their lives. They all have dreams, but will they lose sight of what really matters in life? Corner Shop is a beautiful story of family, love, and dreams. It is multi-layered and complex, told in the voices of each of the family members.

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