Wednesday, June 29, 2011

by Ben Ryder Howe

A preppy editor who works for George Plimpton's Paris Review is married to a Korean-American, a former corporate lawyer. The two of them live in the in-laws' basement (in Staten Island) so that they can save money and get their own place some day. Gab, the editor's wife, decides to give her mother a gift for what she had sacrificed in coming to America. They blow thirty thousand dollars and buy a deli in Brooklyn.
From looking to find the right store, dealing with the customers and the regulations, it's enough to make you never want to buy one in the first place.
Kay, the mother-in-law, is one tough cookie whose energy level is nonstop; Dwayne (he came with the store) is a great employee but very rough around the edges; Gab, so devoted to her mother, will keep the store open during a blizzard while everyone around them is closed. As for Ben, he thinks that the whole idea is terrific but when it comes to the cash register he's all thumbs.
My Korean Deli is both a funny and quirky book. Between residing in someone else's basement where people just barge in without knocking, learning about Korean culture and the characters that congregate in the deli makes for very enjoyable reading.