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Sathnam Sanghera's debut novel is a luminous exploration of the life of an immigrant family in the UK, layering the contemporary story of a young man caught between British and Punjabi culture, the history of his family, and the new life he's made for himself. In a fresh narrative voice that wryly observes, questions, and reflects, Sanghera confronts the complexities of tradition, culture, love, and family. Readers will find more laughter than sadness, smiling even when the Banga family's story seems hopeless.
In an ordinary town in the West Midlands, Arjan Banga reluctantly becomes the new proprietor of the family convenience store after the sudden death of his father. Grimly reevaluating his life as he struggles to protect the store as well as escape it, Arjan gains a grudging appreciation of the family generations that came before him-of their courage and weakness, sacrifices, and follies. As Arjan begins to spend more time than he intended with the store, watching his London life and English fiancée slip away, he will have to explore the past in order to step into the future.
partner articulates their feelings.”’ ‘I’m not worried about the wedding, I’m worried about you.’ And then she opened her handbag and produced something which wrecked the mood entirely: a brochure for Saffron House, an old people’s home for Asian people in Birmingham. I was shocked. Of all the complaints my mother had made about the goras over the years – the bland food; the lack of manners; the chaotic nature of their family life; the absurd obsession with front lawns and tea; the insistence on
Muslims and Sikhs. That these fucking Musselmen have been trying to nail Sikh girls for centuries? One brown-faced person is another brown-faced person innit to them, like all Chinese people look the same to us. Racist sala kuttas. Don’t bother with the Feds, man. They just par you. We know where they live. We should pay them a fucking visit. Ya get me? Time you stopped being a pussy man. There’s a reason we never get anyone messin’ in our shop. They know to leaaaave it, yeah?’ This continued
got in touch with them. At the mention Cornell/Connell, the person in question guessed who I might be on about and, seemingly oblivious to the Data Protection Laws, and the right of individuals to privacy, she sent me the last known address of Jim O’Connor, which turned out to be a forty-five-minute drive from where my mother lived. You might have thought from the elation I felt on getting this information, the first time I think I had felt anything resembling joy since my father’s death, that
was raucous. But it turned out you could actually lose yourself quite silently, as if it were nothing. 12 – COUNTRY HOMES & INTERIORS I KNOW SOME people so dread the agony of a break-up that they will do anything to avoid it, up to and including spending the rest of their days with someone they don’t love or, in some cases, don’t even like. But not me. In fact, I would say I have a talent for splitting up, the agony of the process being almost always outweighed, in my experience, by the
insisted I have a traditional Sikh engagement ceremony. The closest Freya’s 69-year-old father, a retired quantity surveyor from Sussex, had ever got to India was a visit to his local curry house, but suddenly he was standing in our living room presenting me with eleven baskets (apparently, it has to be an odd number) of fresh and dried fruit (consisting of an odd number of ingredients), and �51 in cash. He looked ridiculous with a garland over his shoulders, the surreality of it all accentuated