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Debut Author of 'My Korean Deli' visits Seattle March 13


It might be hard for Seattle-ites to imagine, but in New York City it’s not always easy to find plentiful fresh produce or healthy groceries. For subway commuters who lug bags upstairs from their corner bodega or subsist on takeout, the Korean grocery and deli is often the exception, a healthy food Eden in an otherwise dreary spread of lackluster vegetables and greasy dumplings.

The Korean deli’s façade can be lined with bouquets of fresh flowers. The bins are stacked high with vibrant oranges or avocados. The tofu is easy to find. More exotic ingredients like daikon radishes beckon.

Running the place, apparently, is not so idyllic as Ben Ryder Howe describes in his funny and personal memoir, My Korean Deli.

In 2002, Howe and his wife—he is a self-proclaimed Wasp, she is Korean-American—purchased a Korean deli to run with her parents. The absurd tribulations that ensued are the subject of his debut book.

According to the author, “My Korean Deli is about how weird the places life can land you in are (if there’s anything I never saw myself becoming, it’s the owner of a convenience store). It’s also about how not to behave when you find yourself out of your element and making decisions you’re completely unequipped for.”

When asked about why he decided to write about his experience, Howe said, “Running a deli is a nightmarish way to support a family, but for entertainment’s sake it turns out to be a not-so-bad place to set a book,” and early praise indicates a good read.

Howe has published several short works and was an editor for The Paris Review. Reviews so far suggest a new writer with great promise has launched his book writing career.

On tour to promote the book’s release, Howe will be in Seattle this coming Tuesday, March 13. At Elliott Bay Bookstore, the author will read from My Korean Deli and sign books. The event starts at 7:00pm.

Tuesday, March 13, Ben Ryder Howe, Elliott Bay Bookstore, 1521 Tenth Avenue, 7 pm, free.

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