A London graphic designer is suddenly forced to take over his South Asian family’s convenience store in this “hugely enjoyable” novel (The Sunday Express).
“Sathnam Sanghera’s witty first novel chronicles three generations of a Punjabi Indian family in England. After his father dies, Arjan Banga, a graphic designer in London, returns to the dreary West Midlands to help run the family convenience store. The move causes tension with his white fiancée, Freya, whom his mother regards with passive-aggressive disapproval. Arjan must explain to customers that ‘as a Sikh I was not expected to marry my cousin or join Al Qaeda’ and smile politely at their interpretations of his name (‘Mind if I call you Andy?’). Torn between familial duty and the freedom he enjoys in London, he gains unlikely clarity from his dimwitted friend Ranjit—a pot-smoking devotee of Steven Seagal movies, Xbox and hip-hop. Arjan’s woes are comic, but the novel’s depth is evident as it sheds light on the economic and political struggles of immigrants.” —The New York Times
From an author whose work has been shortlisted for Costa and PEN Awards, this novel about a man trapped between British and Punjabi culture is “filled with details of the lives of Sikhs from the late ’60s to the riots of 2011. The divisions within the Sikh population are poignantly and comically captured in the protests against the Wolverhampton Transport Department’s ban on turbans” (Los Angeles Review of Books).
“Sanghera’s precise, hilarious rendition of voices and cultural details is the signal pleasure of a novel rich in humor, history, and heart.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)