By Roopa Farooki
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312375560, 368pp.)
Publication Date: February 3, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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There are only two tragedies in life. One is not getting your heart's desire - and the other? Getting it. Fourteen-year-old Lucky Khalil loves three things: football, Star Wars and Portia, the girl who works in his grandfather's corner shop. In that order. But Lucky has a destiny – worse than a destiny, he has a dream. He dreams that one day, his lucky left foot will win the World Cup for England . It torments him, because it tastes real, because when he wakes he weeps with disappointment that it is just a dream.
Meanwhile, Lucky’s mother Delphine seems to have had all her dreams come true. But Delphine feels increasingly trapped in her apparently perfect marriage and gilded lifestyle. She fantasizes about rediscovering the freedom of her youth, but rekindling a relationship with her maverick father-in-law, Zaki, is only going to end in disaster.
Zaki, a charming gambler who loved and lost Delphine long before she married his sensible and successful son, feels equally trapped in the corner shop that he has unwillingly run for years for his family's sake. He wonders whether the time has come to abandon his middle class responsibilities, to try once more to achieve his own long-forgotten dreams.
As each of the Khalils discovers in Roopa Farooki’s beautifully written and richly layered tale, the closer one's dreams become, the more risk there is of losing sight of what really matters.
Roopa Farooki was born in Lahore, Pakistan , and brought up in London. She graduated from New College, Oxford in 1995 and worked in advertising before writing fiction full time. Roopa now lives in Southeast England and Southwest France with her husband and two sons. Her first novel, Bitter Sweets, was nominated for the Orange Award for New Writers.
“Aspirations and family ties play out across three generations of the Khalil family in Farooki's fine new novel (after Bitter Sweets)…. [A] flawed yet likable cast… question what, exactly, leads to a more fulfilled life. This character- and culture-rich novel will appeal to Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith fans looking for quainter fare.” --Publishers Weekly
“Farooki's characters are convincingly complex… While her first novel, Bitter Sweets, was called "enjoyably breezy" (New York Times), this work has a depth to it that requires more substantial adjectives. Highly recommended.” –Library Journal
“A complex exploration of the ever-changing nature of wants and desires and the consequences of achieving one’s dreams, Farooki’s tale eschews easy answers for the complex, appealing characters that people its pages.” –Booklist
"A winner... [the] characters are imperfect yet loveable, full of life but confused, annoying in their own ways while tremendously charming. One can’t help but feel like a confidant as family crises, friction, achievements, disappointments, and realizations unfold.... [This] comic and poignant novel conjures questions that come back to tease and haunt the reader." --India Currents magazine