Ben Ryder Howe - My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store

03/09/2012 7:00 pm
03/09/2012 8:00 pm

Ben Ryder Howe will discuss My Korean Deli with Tim Schau, co-owner of Z&H MarketCafe.

About My Korean Deli:

It all starts when Ben Ryder Howe's wife, whose parents emigrated from Korea, decides to repay her debt to them by buying them a deli to run. Howe, an editor at "The Paris Review," reluctantly agrees to help in the venture. By day, Howe commutes to "The Paris Review" offices in George Plimpton's apartment overlooking the East River, and at night heads to Brooklyn to slice cold cuts, peddle lottery tickets and Colt 45, and sell coffee in 8-ounce blue and gold cups bearing the logo "We are happy to serve you."

The book follows the store's lifespan, starting a few months before the purchase and ending with the family's agonized decision to get out. Along the way, Howe allows digressions into the past, painting a cacophonous group portrait of two families -- from the Brooklyn ghetto to Seoul to Brahmin New England. The deli is where these cultures meet as Howe juxtaposes the two groups, outsiders versus insiders, new talent versus old money, the deli with "The Paris Review." Owning the deli becomes a transformative experience for everyone involved as they struggle to keep the deli - and themselves - from bankruptcy while sorting out issues of class, intermarriage values, work and personal identity.

Book List
ISBN-13: 9781250002471
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador, 2/2012

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