Customer Reviews: Corner Shop
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on December 5, 2009
I can't understand why more people, at least more Amazon reviewers, have apparently not yet discovered the extraordinarily talented Roopa Farooki. For several years I've been feasting on a banquet of novels by writers from the Indian subcontinent ,and Farooki serves up some of the tastiest and subtlest dishes.

Both her excellent first novel, "Bitter Sweets," and this one are populated by multigenerational families; getting to know those grandparents and teenagers, as well as the middle generation, is like expanding your own family--without the obligation to call on their birthdays. Farooki loves to play with words and does so with skill and often humor. (Look for the verbal joke in Jinan's faked heart trouble.)

Farooki is a daring architect. The first half of "Corner Shop" develops several plotlinrs from different characters' viewpoints. Zaki, the charming 50-something patriarch, has passionate affairs with the lovely Frenchwoman Delphine, both before and after she marries his strait-laced but endearing son Jinan (who is technically Zaki's stepson, but there's still a frisson of incest). Delphine's own adolescent son (could his father actually be Zaki? ) is consumed by his dream of becoming a pro footballer for England; prepare for detailed but dramtic play-by-plays of the game we know as soccer.

In Part Two of this saga, much of the action and viewpoint suddenly shift, bur all the players are still heard from. Alas, a coda, somewhat awkwardly tacked on in a final chapter, inexplicably fails to explain what has happened over the years to the charismatic Zaki. This surprising lacuna, and Farooki's occasional descemt into "chick lit" silliness, are the only reasons I'm not awarding five stars to this otherwise engaging, page-turning novel.

Farooki has written a third novel, "The Way Things Look To Me," about a girl with Asperger's syndrome and her two siblings, but so far it has not been published in the U.S. (You can easily get it from or And her fourth one, "Half Life," will be published in the U.S.on April 27, 2010.
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VINE VOICEon February 3, 2009
I really enjoyed Roopa Farooki's first novel, Bitter Sweets. Her prose was lively, her characters unique, and the overall story was intriguing. Reading Corner Shop, however, made me wonder, "what happened?"

The story centers around the Khalil family: Zaki, who runs a corner shop in a run-down part of London; his son, Jinan, who's a lawyer; Jinan's wife, Delphine, a French transplant; and their son, Lucky, destined to have a great career as a soccer player. The story follows the characters over a long period of time, from the moment that Zaki and Delphine meet until the present.

The first part of this book started off strongly and promisingly enough. But then, it deteriorated for me towards the middle (I'll be spoiling the story if I say any more). The Asian influence, which was such a big part of the story in Bitter Sweets, is only incidental here; in fact, these characters could have been anyone, and it wouldn't have mattered. There's very little warmth and vitality here, either in the story or the characters. However, of the four main characters, Farooki's depiction of Lucky is easily the best, with Zaki's being the weakest (and I didn't like how she suddenly turned the narrative to first-person halfway though the book).

With regards to the story itself, Farooki also had this annoying habit of picking up ideas for plot twists and then abandoning them immediately. About half of the novel has that "chick lit" feel, as the reader is introduced to Delphine's friends and their problems. Too, the book didn't seem to have much of an ending, only a tacked-on "25 years later" kind of thing that left me disappointed. And whatever happened to Zaki? Farooki is a strong writer, and I'm hoping that this is only a "sophomore slump" from her. I look forward to reading more of what she writes.
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on March 17, 2011
While certainly NOT my favorite Roopa Farooki novel, it was rather entertaining. It featured a couple of fun characters; Zaki(the father-in-law/ex-lover of Delphine) and Portia (the love interest of Delphine's teenage son, Lucky). They definitely had the most pizzazz; and I enjoyed them both immensely.

This book was a little light on had its moments. I'm kind of middle-of-the-road on this one........NMR
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In London teen Luhith "Lucky" Khalil is a terrific football player who dreams of playing for the English national team and being the hero bringing home the World Cup trophy. However, the fourteen year old is distracted from his goal by his attraction to his grandfather's employee Portia. His father Jinan is a hard working lawyer who is a second generation Pakistani immigrant while his mother Delphine dreams of romantic love though Jinan is to busy working to waste time romancing his spouse. Lucky's grand father Zaki the shopkeeper is the first generation immigrant.

Zaki loves to gamble and admires the young English women like his daughter-in-law whom he met before his son did. Although he knows why Delphine chose Jinan because he is a professional while Zaki is a storekeeper, he outrageously flirts with her, calling her beautiful. They begin a tryst as each gets what they desire, but at what cost.

This is a terrific family drama starring a strong ensemble cast. The story line shifts viewpoint between the primary players, which enables a convoluted fascinating focus on the conflicting aspirations of three generations of a Pakistani-British family. In this story individuals' goals clash and the Khalil brood learn that sometimes you have to pay an exorbitant price when you get what you asked for.

Harriet Klausner
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on February 27, 2009
First off, I am on a serious lack of sleep so bear with me here!

I really enjoy this author's writing. It flows nicely and I thought her first book did as well. I know the other novel got lots of bad reviews and I was surprised at the harshness. In this novel I fell in love with the characters right away. Well, except for the husband who was just a plain jerk! The boy was cute with his soccer dream, however, me myself not caring for soccer got a little tired on all the commentary on his games. Lucky's grandfather (Now, I cannot remember his name or the boy's mother's name because I got no sleep last night) was a hoot. Very witty and always with the quips. This character was the most well developed of all.

Now, I know this review is really juvenile and sounds like it's written by a 7 yr old but I just wanted to get on here and say that I enjoyed the book, in case someone wants to know. Now hopefully I can get some sleep...
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on February 6, 2009
I thought that Roopa Farooki's first novel, Bitter Sweets, was a fantastic book, but Corner Shop is even better. It has laugh out loud comedy in places, and edge of your seat drama in others - a perfect mix of funny, witty and poignant. It's a twist on the universal family drama -about individuals pursuing their dreams, and what happens afterwards. You really feel for the characters, despite all their faults. This is the type of book I love - a utterly pleasurable read, but one with genuine insight and which has something real to say. J Philips
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on August 18, 2015
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