The Corner Shop

  • Author Babita Sharma
  • Narrator Babita Sharma
  • Publisher John Murray Press
  • Run Time 6 hours and 27 minutes
  • Format Audio
  • Genre Social and cultural history.

Listen to a sample

What to expect


‘Nuanced, human and engaging’ Nikesh Shukla, Observer
‘Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community’ Sir David Jason
‘A delightful story of growing up “above the shop”‘ Nigel Slater, Observer
‘Cleverly links her own memories of shop-bound life with the last 50 years of British history’ Spectator

‘I come from a hidden world: I am the daughter of shopkeepers. I’ve seen you on a Sunday morning, nipping out to get a pint of milk or to grab a newspaper. I came to know a lot about you; whether your politics leaned to the right or left, whether you were gay or straight, and whether you were plagued by cash-flow problems or had enough disposable income to indulge your penchant for Cadbury’s Crème Eggs.’

Babita Sharma was raised in a corner shop in Reading, and over the counter watched a changing world, from the clientele to the products to the politics of the day. Along with the skills to mop a floor perfectly and stack a shelf, she gained a unique insight into a shifting landscape – and an institution that, despite the creep of supermarkets, online shopping and delivery, has found a way to evolve and survive. The Corner Shop is the remarkable human story of these little institutions that have changed the course of our history.

From the general stores of the first half of the 20th century (one of which was run by the father of a certain Margaret Thatcher), to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from India, East Africa and Eastern Europe from the 60s to the noughties, the corner shop has shaped the way we shop, the way we eat, and the way we understand ourselves.

‘A triumph’ Radio Times
‘A compelling, full selection box of a story’ Sanjeev Kohli
‘One of the best books I’ve read on the immigrant experience in this country’ Daily Mail
‘I loved it cover to cover’ Angela Clutton, author of The Vinegar Cupboard

(P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critics Review

  • Part memoir, part social history, The Corner Shop is a gentle, charming and at times poignant look at our nation of shopkeepers . . . human, accessible and informative; a nuanced exploration of part of British Asian life that has long been stereotyped – and therein lies this book’s strength.

  • A delightful story of growing up “above the shop”

    Nigel Slater, Observer
  • An evocative real-life account of her own British Asian family running (and living above) a Reading shop

    BBC Culture
  • One of the best books I’ve read of the immigrant experience in this country . . . it’s the detail that makes it . . . a subtle, enjoyable book.

    Daily Mail
  • A story of assimilation and triumph.

    Radio Times
  • Sharma cleverly links her own memories of shop-bound life with the last 50 years of British history . . . How much we found out about you, says Sharma teasingly, as you dashed in for that last-minute bottle of wine.


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