Edgware Road

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Pub Date 03 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2022

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'Part family history, part immigrant hustle... A complete tour de force.' Junot Díaz

1981: Khalid Quraishi feels lucky. Working in the glitzy West End by night and spending time with his beautiful wife and daughter by day, he's a world away from the life he left behind in Karachi. But Khalid likes to gamble, and he's just chanced upon an opportunity that could see him win big...

2003: Alia Quraishi doesn't really remember her dad. After her parents divorced she hardly ever saw him, and then he died in an accident – or at least that's what she was told. But now, Alia has questions. And with no leads left in the UK, she must travel to Pakistan, and to a family that feel more like strangers, to finally find out the truth about her father.

'A brilliant, intriguing novel... The characters feel so real that I can hardly believe they're not.' Louise Hare
'Beautiful... An elegant and moving book.' Sathnam Sanghera

'Part family history, part immigrant hustle... A complete tour de force.' Junot Díaz

1981: Khalid Quraishi feels lucky. Working in the glitzy West End by night and spending time with his beautiful...

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Featured Reviews

A fresh voice on the literary fiction scene, Yasmin Cordery Khan writes with easy assurance about a moment in time that has largely been forgotten by all but those affected by it. She skilfully evokes the sights, sounds and smells of London in the 80s and I felt myself back there. I remember the BCCI scandal, but I was young and less interested in the details. However, the repercussions of the collapse of the bank rippled into my own life as a family friend had worked for the bank. His involvement with them was swiftly glossed over and it left the taint that something unsavoury had happened. Khan deftly shows the depth of corruption with a more human perspective as Alia Quaraishi tries to find out what happened to her father, Khalid. When she was 11 y/o, in 1987, he failed to show up for their regular meeting at Edgware Road. His body washed up from the Solent shortly afterwards and Alia moved on with her life. Now, a university professor, she wants to find out what happened to him and investigates. This may be literary fiction, but it has a propulsive, urgent narrative and Khan’s voice is so good that she pulls you along on her journey with ease. A really interesting and well written novel that feels too accomplished for a debut. Thoroughly recommend.

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I absolutely loved this! What a fantastic plot, beautifully written, intertwining the relationships between the characters in such an ingenious and realistic way. Easily one of my favourite books of the year. I will be recommending it to everyone for months to come!
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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This was such a compelling read that had me gripped right from the very start. It was well written with an interestingstoryline and great characters. As someone who wasnt around in the 80's this book really brought that to life for me, I loved it

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This is a great debut novel, which kept me engaged all the way through. Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Really interesting characters, mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. I also Loved how the author brought 1980’s Britain to life. Would highly recommend!

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Alia wants to know what happened to her dad Khalid. With her parents separated, her mum would put her on the Tube, and she'd meet her dad at a station.

Until the day in December 1987 when she was standing alone at Edgware Road.

As an adult, she knows Khalid died, but not how or why...

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I really liked this debut novel. I enjoyed the relationships between the characters and how Yasmin Cordery Khan weaved the 1980s timeline with the present day. It was an engaging and intriguing read with a satisfying ending. I loved all the London references and the city felt like a character as well.

I can't wait to see what she writes next and would definitely recommend for fans of character based literary fiction.

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London comes alive in this fantastic book!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.

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Thank you to Netgalley, Yasmin Cordery Khan and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Firstly, I loved this book. As someone who wasn't born in the 80's, I love hearing about what Britain and London was like during that time.

The plot was engaging and the character relationships were wonderful (and realistic, which helps!).

The mystery of what happened to Alia's father after he didn't show up for their regular meeting had be gripped from the very beginning.

I would definitely recommend this novel to my friends and family.

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Newly arrived from Pakistan to study engineering at Imperial College, Khalid is drawn instead to glitz and glamour, working as a croupier at an exclusive London casino. It’s the 80s, his good looks and demeanour make him the right fit as his boss is keen to hire internationals who 'understand' the exclusive environment of London’s premier gaming rooms. Seduced by the power and wealth he encounters through his work, Khalid begins to desire the same. Entitlement set in as Khalid becomes entangled into murky dealings of BCCI bank. The rest as they say is history..
Yasmin Cordery Khan is a Historian of British India and Associate Professor of History at Oxford University, her earlier publications The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan (2007), and The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War (2015). Edgware Road is her debut novel.
The story is set in the 80’s, Khalid and his friend Imran are living in Hammersmith, whilst working nights in Mayfair. Khalid is married to Suzie, an ex-model, Imran is married to Hasina a traditional Pakistani housewife. Unlike Imran, Khalid has great aspirations. He wants a large house in St Johns Wood, he wants his wife to shop in designer boutiques and that his only daughter attends the best private school. He is willing to work hard and take all risks to make these dreams a reality.
One evening he has a date with destiny, Mr K. (Adnan Kashoggi) walks into the casino with a sizeable entourage. On his departure he hands Khalid his business card. As Khalid learns more about Mr K.’s jet-set lifestyle he is intrigued. Khalid has a connection to BCCI bank and learns Mr.K needs an introduction.
In the meantime, Lord Denby a Labour Peer for Oxford East is tipped off about the shady dealings of BCCI bank and slowly unravels the questionable financial activities that connect an international bank founded by a Pakistan Businessman that has branches on British soil.
Chapters of the novel switch back between London and Oxford in the 80s and Oxford at the present time creating tension and suspense in the novel.
The story is narrated through the eyes of Alia, initially as a child and later as an academic at Oxford University. As the novel progresses and Alia reaches adulthood, her writings and observations become more succinct. At times, the novel feels autobiographical given the fact the author is an Associate Professor at Oxford.
‘Alia was a fixed-term lecturer in English literature, that meant she was not old enough or good enough or plain lucky enough to stay forever. The author of two good papers in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals, yet despite the gown, the letters after her name, the hours of life poured away in libraries, and the way she scrambled and clutched on to reach this supposed pinnacle, she could never imagine herself as a don. She didn’t find in Oxford and she couldn’t pretend to, and after a few months of trying she had decided to just treat it like an old job. This was her strategy for survival.’
The author writes well, the novel is engaging and a page turner especially when she narrates the BCCI bank story. Considering this is her first novel, I am pleasantly surprised that an acclaimed Historian could write such an engaging novel set during her own lifetime.
We learn about her fathers’s background in Karachi, as Yasmin travels there to meet her family and find answers about her father’s past. Throughout the story the reader senses there is a strong sense of Alia trying to regain her sense of self and identity through her father. The author manages to flesh out the character of the main protagonist well.
Khalid works hard and risks everything to give his daughter Alia the best he possibly can. The bond between father and daughter is a theme prevalent throughout the story. Khalid cuts an endearing figure.
The story will appeal to anyone who grew up in 80’s Britain and possibly recalls the BCCI scandal. It has the grit of 80s as well as the incoming Capitalist policies of Thatcherite Britain, myths of London’s streets paved with gold.

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What a stunning book! I loved the writing and there were so many moments where it broke my heart. I can't wait to read more by this author.

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Thank you to the publishers and Net Galley for my free e-copy

This story is set mostly in London and follows Alia and her father Khalid through two different eras.

With the death of her estranged dad still on her mind 20 years later, his daughter find out if anything from his past caused his death which many believe to be murder and sets out to discover what happened to him.

We read about Aliya travelling to Karachi to meet her fathers family and find out more about that side of her family history

I also really enjoyed the banking corruption background, I used to work for a global bank for ten years so really got into that aspect.

I also learnt about different cultures and generations which I enjoyed. Learning about the history of different countries was great as well, you can tell the author definitely knows her stuff

I will be recommending this book and looking out for others by this author

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I enjoyed this novel very much. It is well-written, with the narrative split into a number of timelines which works well, explaining the back-story and linking that to the novel's "present day". The characters, including London itself, its variety of inhabitants, and its seedy 1980s Playboy Club, and both "town" and "gown" Oxford, are believable and recognisable, perfectly captured, and coming alive on the page.

With many thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.

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This novel moves between the 1980s and twenty years later as Alia - then as a child and now an academic - tries to understand her past.
Alia’s father Khalid came from Pakistan to London and we learn what happened when he got drawn into a seedy underworld.
Woven in is the story of a Labour MP Mark Debby who is tipped off about the corruption at the heart of the banking community.
Cordery Khan weaves the storylines together skilfully and the 1980s world is evocatively portrayed.
Although the characters never quite had my heart, I certainly enjoyed this accomplished novel.
Recommended: a tale of ambition, corruption and a little girl trying to piece together what happened to her dad all those years ago.

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“Where do you find a lost father? In the mirror, in the sweep of an arched eyebrow, in the sheen of hair? In the echo of a phrase that comes in the night, passed on and learned.”

Alia Quraishi is eleven years old, waiting to meet her father at the Edgware Road tube station, which is near where he now lives. Her parents are separated and this is her first time making the trip by herself. She loses her only coin in the payphone when she tries to call Mum.

This is a complex story covering different time periods and different characters, not all of whom interact directly but who are connected in some way to the dubious financial transactions we eventually learn about.

Alia’s father is Khalid, whom we meet first as a young man, a popular croupier in London’s Playboy Club. There are real people populating the story, and although I wasn’t familiar with the scandals, even I recognise some of the names, including Hugh Hefner, of course. That always makes something like this more interesting. The author is a highly regarded historian, and it’s obvious from this that she is very much at home writing about these people, places, and times.

Khalid can’t resist gambling himself, although not in the big clubs, which he couldn’t afford. He bets on the race and stops in at a local pub with a mate.

“The two of them worked like factory workers, hands fluttering on the square buttons, feeding back the coins when they tumbled down. The tangy smell of copper and nickel rose up from the money, held by a thousand hands. . . .

Khalid liked Irish pubs in any case. You could usually find someone to stand you a drink in O’Connors, or in the Rose of Tralee further down the road. In Khalid’s view, Sufism and Catholicism had a lot in common. Imran knew his views on the subject and was mostly in agreement. The Irish and the Asians, their own little people in a sea of imperial bastards.”

I liked Khalid’s comparison of the Irish Catholics and Sufis as “their own little people”. An Irish pub seems an odd place for him to feel at home, but then he’s an odd sort of fellow.

He meets and loves his wife, loves his daughter, gets mixed up in some dodgy dealings which involve Adnan Kashoggi, the wealthy Saudi businessman, and finds himself in some scary situations. Khalid’s body is found a long way from his home, and the police decide he accidentally drowned. We obviously have our suspicions because we know the sort of people he was mixing with.

The story moves back and forth so that we see young Khalid and wife Suzie and little Alia enjoying life as a family, although they are struggling because of his gambling.

We also see Alia as a university student and later lecturer, living with a flatmate and becoming more interested in her background. She wants to know who she is, who her father was, how he came to London, and how he died.

When she travels to Karachi, she is reminded of her childhood. Her cousin Nadima and family used to live in London, and Alia was like another daughter to them. Nadima picks her up at the airport.

“The sounds on the radio conveyed the rhythm of something familiar, something comforting. The sound of her father on the telephone. “

They and her grandmother are delighted to see her again. There are countless relatives at the party for her. She represents something.

“To the rest, she was Khalid’s girl. No one here was interested in her as an individual – not in her PhD research, or her next deadline, or her daily worries. They didn’t want to listen to her account of the journey. Of course, they needed to know that she was healthy and well clothed. But they cared about her because she was part of their line, their tribe, and she was the living link to the man who was her father, who they loved, and for this reason they would do anything for her and in this there was something unconditional and anonymous. She could have been anyone, but because she was his, she mattered. She was their lost property.”

Jumping back to Khalid’s time, we meet a British MP, who has been warned by a constituent’s letter that there is some funny business going on with BCCI, a big bank. He has his own storyline which is where we see the history and the politics and the scandal of the day.

That’s all interesting, but it was the characters of Khalid and Alia I enjoyed most, and the contrast between their generations and the cultures and how people mix – or not.

It’s an ambitious book, well-written and thoughtful, and I think it’s pretty much achieved its ambitions. There is certainly more to it than I expected. I look forward to seeing how this is received by proper critics.

One disadvantage of reading a digital preview on an e-reader or Kindle is that the formatting demarcations and spacings are not always as obvious as they are on a printed page or PDF file. The author does introduce some sections with years, which is helpful.

Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus/Apollo for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted.

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This was a brilliant read, delving into the lives of first and second generation immigrants settled in London. It looked at how they coped with life in this area, but more specifically how they fit and connect with previous generations of their family. There were contrasts between each generation and how Westernised further generations have become. The characters in different sections were not always connected directly and in a digital early copy that could become a bit confusing, especially if a section was set in a different historical time period. However, all were connected in some way and this became clearer as time passed.

We meet an eleven year old Alia at Edgeware Road tube station. She is waiting for her father and this is the first time she has travelled to visit him alone. Her mum and dad are divorced. Our first meeting with Khalid, her dad, takes us back to his youth in 1960’s London where he worked as a croupier in a glamorous club frequented by celebrities including Hugh Hefner. Khalid develops a love of gambling but can’t afford to play in the type of club that employs him. Instead he and his friend take a drive to an ordinary local pub and the bandit machines. I love the way the author describe the experience:

‘The two of them worked like factory workers, hands fluttering on the square buttons, feeding back the coins when they tumbled down. The tangy smell of copper and nickel rose up from the money, held by a thousand hands’..

They like to frequent Irish pubs, because.the people are generous for buying drinks Khalid feels a kinship with Irish men. This could be the kinship of the immigrant experience but Khalid believes it’s more than that. He likes to talk about the similarities between Sufism and Catholicism, but also how British Imperialism has affected the people in both India and Ireland. There are lovely descriptions of their early family life with Alia which could have been idyllic had Khalid stayed away from some deals that go wrong. As he starts to do work further afield they begin work with a Saudi Arabian businessman, but this is where there are risky deals and potentially dangerous situations.

In 2003 Alia doesn’t remember much about her father. Her mum wouldn’t even talk about him. So, when he died she had no reason to think of foul play. It was always referred to as a sad accident, but now twenty years later she wants to know more. She wants to understand the other half of her heritage. She starts to think more about his death and is suspicious of how far his body was found from his usual stomping ground. She decides to find out more and travels out to Karachi where her father’s family are still settled. Her cousin Nadima meets her at the airport and her grandmother has brought the family together to meet her. She feels like someone who matters here and she’s surprised by the instant loyalty they seem to have, simply because she’s Khalid’s daughter. This gives her a sense of belonging to a line or tribe, something she’s never had before. I loved the contrast between British society in the 1980s to the 21stCentury. It was also interesting to see the difference when Alia went to Karachi and where she feels she is accepted more.

Her father felt more accepted in an Irish pub than he did socialising with English people. Possibly because there’s a kinship from both being ‘their own little people in a sea of imperialist bastards’. I liked and understood this solidarity, that a shared enemy can create strong bonds. I thought this was an interesting debut, the 1980’s were so well drawn and really evocative for a child of that era like me. The intricacies of the relationships were another high point for me and I was drawn in by the different generations, how they were perceived by society and how they viewed the world compared to their parents and grandparents. I think this book is a great insight into being a second or third generation immigrant in the U.K.

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Now for something completely different....and brilliant.
I had no idea that the start of this book would lead to a plot of international fraud, corruption and one of the biggest financial scandals of the 1980s
Yet it starts with a daughter hoping to meet a father who never appears and how we unravel where he went after he left his wife and daughter Alia.
How an immigrant Khalid Qurashi, who has been trying to make his way with work at the biggest casino in London finds an opportunity to move beyond bets on horses and slot machines to the 'big' time. But when the big time includes names such as Abedi and Khashoggi then you may find yourself beyond your depth.
I liked the side story of the MP Mark Denby and how his research (helped by his secretary) hopes to uncover the corruption of the BCCI which it seems is starting to cause concern.
There is an understated family rift building that leaves Alia scrambling to uncover the truth later in life.
Overall a very well crafted family story that widens its scope to an excellent investigative plot that combines good research woven through the various characters.

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What a lovely debut! I was immediately hooked by a tale that I find hard to describe (and is probably why I enjoyed it so much). This is best described as a part character, part plot-driven mystery wrapped up in historical fiction.

As someone who wasn't alive in the 80s and only has vague memories of London in the early 2000s, Khan's masterful writing made the 80s feel like a distant memory and like London was an old friend, full of life and character. I especially enjoyed seeing the multicultural side of London portrayed in such a warm way, without any of the stereotypes or undertones usually associated with those parts of London (and, if I'm being completely honest, it was the title that drew me to the book because of Edgware Road's 'Little Beirut' nickname).

Khan has an easy and delightful writing style, allowing me to easily get sucked into Alia and Khalid's world. However, there were times that Khan would segue into another topic in a way that I can only describe as jarring. I often felt confused and had to read back multiple times to make sure I hadn't missed something. It abruptly brought me back to reality, often taking me a while to being fully immersed in the book again.

I also enjoyed how Khan used Playboy's downfall and the BCCI scandal as the backdrop to this father-daughter story, with people whose names are familiar to us through history and the media interspersed throughout. All of the characters we come across, whether they're real or fictional, are interconnected in some way, providing us with different perspectives of the events taking place. I will admit though that I was confused by Mark Denby's perspective being added when it seemed to me to add little more than background to the BCCI scandal, which we could have easily gathered from Alia or Khalid's POVs. However, Denby's chapters were enjoyable and easy to read, providing insight into the life of a new MP. Denby's perspective did make sense towards the end with the blink-and-you-miss-it reference, solidifying what the clear (to me) undertone in this book that everything and everyone in the world is connected, particularly in relation to world events.

To summarise, this was a great read, one that I will recommend to friends!

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This nook is the story of a man who ends up dead and his daughter who is curious about what happened to him. It's a duel timeline book and touches on issues like identity and migration, crime and corruption, opportunities, class and privilege. I used the phrase "touches on" deliberately, because mainly this is a story, and a pretty good one too.

The book has a huge scope, and does not seek to resolve anything too neatly, which is both clever and just slightly unsatisfying.
My main criticism is that (in the copy I had) the chapters were not labelled by date or by character, which could get confusing, especially as many of the chapters start out with using pronouns rather than names.

I enjoyed this story and thank NetGalley and the publishers for the free e-Arc I received in exchange for an honest review.

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Well-written and well-researched, this debut novel is also a great read, with evocative descriptions of 1980s London, and a dual timeline with a family secret at its core. Recommend.

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From the very start I knew I would be hooked on this book - I loved the prologue and Khalid and Imran’s characters!
It proved to be a gripping and emotive tale of family and immigrant identity and experiences!!

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Our story begins in 1981 with Khalid Quraishi, a man who considers himself lucky in more ways than one. He has a beautiful wife and daughter, and a job he loves rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in the glitzy Playboy casino in London's West End. It's a world away from his upbringing in Karachi, and he sees bright things ahead for him and his family. But Khalid is also a gambler, and his compulsion to play the odds in pursuit of that tantalising big win leads leads him into trouble.

1987 finds him with a broken marriage and desperate to recapture his dreams. When he is offered the chance of a lifetime to get involved with a business deal involving the creation of a new bank, he is sure that this will be the big break he needs. But appearances can be deceptive and this time the gamble involves some very dodgy business partners.

In 2003, Khalid's daughter Alia has only hazy memories of her father, as she saw little of him after her parents' divorce, beyond infrequent meetings at Underground stations around London. When he was found dead in 1987, after failing to turn up to one of their father-daughter Tube meetings, the police put his death down to an accident - although the fact that his body was dragged from the Solent was rather odd for a man who lived in the Edgware Road. This loss has always left Alia feeling that she knows little about the Pakistani half of her heritage, and how this impacts her own sense of identity. The time has come for her to find out what sort of man Khalid was and why he ended his days in a watery grave...

This is a book full of delicious surprises! It starts with the slow-burn of a domestic drama of a family torn apart by one man's ambition and inability to control his gambling addiction, and then heads off into a glorious twisty and expansive mystery thriller that delves into corruption, ineptitude, and very dark deeds.

Although the novel begins way back in 1981, the story primarily consists of two timelines - 1987, with Khalid's tale, and a parallel thread from a new MP in the House of Commons, Mark Denby; and 2003 when Alia is compelled to find out more about her father. The timelines swap back and forth building layer upon layer, until we begin to see the truth about Khalid's foolish naivety, and how he gets himself mired in underhand deals on a global scale through a chance meeting with Saudi businessman and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

Alia's detective work drives the story, ratcheting up the tension and pulling you in as she tracks down the clues, confronts the complicit, and reels from the impact of what she finds out. The significant emotional impact of what she discovers is really interesting, affecting not only her view of her father, but also the way she sees herself and what she is due. I also thoroughly enjoyed how Mark Denby is used as a story device to shed light on the truly shocking scale of the corruption Khalid unwittingly becomes involved in, and adds a very cleverly worked element of tangible menace and very believable conspiracy to the piece.

The scale of this novel is immense in the way it brings is themes of identity; the driving ambition of immigrants desperate to leave their old lives behind, and yet tied to their heritage; the complexities of family dynamics; and a whole raft of political and societal issues. I was especially struck by the way Cordery Khan does such an impressive job conjuring the perfect feeling of time and place for every single part of this truly stunning debut. It's not just that she takes us from London to Pakistan and back again and across the different timelines so well, but the way she brings the complicated and contradictory sides of the late 1980s alive in these pages so authentically, recreating the brashness, the clash of cultures, the tense political atmosphere under Thatcher, the endemic racism and sexism yet to be addressed, while at the same time blending real and fictional characters, and pervading this all with the unmistakable sense that change is coming. As someone old enough to remember all this first hand, I am in awe!

This is a book that easily makes it onto the pile of my books of the year. Definitely one you do not want to miss!

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Thank you so much to the publishers for providing me with a copy of this!

I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It is such a unique story set between 1980s and the present. Think family dramas with an underlying unresolved mystery.

At the start of the book, we meet Khalid, an 18 year old from Pakistan, who moves to London to study Engineering. He soon discovers that his student income is not sufficient to maintain the high profile life that he desires. In order to earn more money, he begins to work as a croupier at a casino near Edgware Road, however he becomes involved with much more than he bargained for.

The book flicks between Khalid’s past, and the present where his daughter, Alia, is trying to work out what happened to her father after his is found dead under mysterious circumstances. I loved this underlying sense of mystery and it kept me guessing throughout. Through her search for the truth about her father, Alia also begins to discover more about her family roots.

There were lots of topics discussed in this book that did sometimes leave me feel confused and feeling like I’d missed something. However, I did really enjoy the way it was written and I loved that all the characters’ stories were interconnected.

I think this will be a popular book that will be enjoyed by many!! I’m really looking forward to seeing what people think of it!🥰

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This book is dual timeline, in one we follow the events that unfold as Alia waits at Edgware tube station for her father, Khalid, only he never shows and his body is later discovered by the police in what they describe to be an accidental drowning. In the other timeline we get to see Khalid as he falls in love and marries his wife, Suzie, and we meet little baby Alia, we learn about her father’s gambling problem and his involvement in some not so legal deals with people you would not want to be alone in a dark alley with. We see Alia at college as she tries to learn what happened to her dad, who he really was, and how her father even ended up in the UK to begin with(her father originated from Pakistan).

This story is filled with real life characters and events which made it all the more fun to read, this is one that grips you from the start as you become connected with the characters and find yourself wanting to understand what happened to Khalid. This is a very cleverly written book about corruption, migration and privilege. well worth a read.

Thank you Head of Zeus for sending me a proof and having me on the blog tour.

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Edward Road is the scene of Khalid’s London ventures after he comes from Karachi for what he expects to be a better life. His job is supervising gambling tables which brings him into contact with some dubious patrons. He marries and has a daughter Alia. The story deals with his change of job when the casino closes and his involvement with the under the counter activities of dodgy international bank. He is found dead in circumstances that remain in solved. Meanwhile an aspiring Labour politician considers exposing the bank. Many years later his daughter tries to discover what happened to her father. The story is very well created and delivered. The temptations and challenges for immigrants are handled very well. This is a gripping read and I recommend it.

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Both Khalid and Alia are gripping protagonists. Following their lives, unfolding stories and unraveling secrets is intriguing and makes you want more. I loved them. I feel like the Denby plot really detracted from the novel and the focus could have been solely on the Quaraishi’s, their rises and falls, their tragedies. Overall a beautiful and interesting read,l that carries you all over London and farther. Really stunning writing.

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Some books make you feel transported to another pace and another timeline, I felt like this while reading “Edgware Road”. Interesting and real it was not difficult to fall in love with the story of the Quraishi’s life.
The story is told between two different time periods; 2003 where Alia Quraishi wants to know who her father was and what happened to the kind mind she remembers. And then the past, 1981, where the young Khalid Quraishi starts his dangerous life in gambling.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this read; it’s intriguing and full of characters making it impossible for the reader to stop turning pages to discover what really happened to Khalid. His death was an accident or someone did it? He was really surrounded by dangerous people at the time, so it will be in Alia’s hand’s to discover the truth. But, will she be putting her life in danger too? The gambling world is dark and dangerous… maybe a killer on the run? Of course you’ll have to read the book if you want to know all the answers!
But I can assure you that it’s worth the read, even if the beginning seems slow paced is like a spider web that attracts you and you don’t know how to leave.
Are you ready to discover the story of “Edgware Road”?

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Twenty years after Khalid’s death, his daughter Alia embarks on a determined journey, attempting to uncover the truth of his death which was quickly dismissed by the police as an accident. A story told in parallel takes us back to the 1980’s, where the “lucky” Khalid finds his life unravelling as a result of his gambling addiction. Travelling from Oxford to Pakistan, Alia meets her father’s family who embrace her as the only daughter and embodiment of their charismatic son. She then returns to his old stomping ground, Edgeware Road, retrieving lost childhood memories, attempting to reconnect with his old friends and a final revelatory journey to Goa. This is a fantastic debut novel with truly engaging characters and a realistic portrayal of multicultural and edgy London.

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Firstly, I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book! It was a fresh story that gripped me from the very beginning.

The story itself is told in two timelines, one is set in the 1980s and follows one of the main characters Khalid Quraishi, who has a nearly perfect life, including a well-paid job and a happy family. Although he has it all he still wants more, the money, the grand life and the fame. This dream of his makes him play the odds, gamble and make deals with very dodgy people and businesses. At the same time, he is also fighting his own demons and addictions and all of that put together slowly destroys his perfect family and life.

The second timeline is set in 2003 and follows Alia Quraishi, Khalid’s daughter, as she is determined to find out what happened to her father in the late 80s when he just disappeared when she was just a little girl. Alia follows her faint memories of her father, which leads her to not only find out the destiny of her father but also allows her to explore her roots, her family relationships and herself.

I loved how the chapters intertwined from one timeline to another to keep the suspension and mystery of what happened to Khalid constantly going. The story itself is very beautifully written and at times with such detailed descriptions, I felt like I was in the book with those characters, looking at the world the way they saw it, living their life and feeling the emotions they felt. Honestly, not many books make me feel like I am in the story together with the characters, and that is one of the things that made this book really stand out for me.

I also really liked how history and life in London's West End and then the BCCI scandal was included in this book to keep that tension and mystery surrounding the life that Khalid lead throughout the book. I didn’t know much about the 80s in the UK and this book really taught me a lot about that time, especially how life was back then in London for the higher class and minority groups.

I must note that Alia’s character left a big impression on me because she grew so much as a character as the book progressed. As she learned more about her family, her father and the past, she found a sense of belonging and finally realised who she really is and for me, that is one of many strong messages that this book was trying to convey to the readers.

Although, because the book was so gripping and the build-up to the end was so good, I was a tad disappointed by the ending. I think I just expected some sort of wow factor or an exciting twist at the end…However, the ending was still very good and made me sit and think for a while about everything that happened in this book

Overall, it was a brilliant book, with beautifully crafted characters and a gripping storyline. I recommend this book, as it is a story that explores family, relationships, different generations, and much more…. A book that should be an addition to everyone’s 2022 TBR book pile.

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A well written book, very descriptive, which made me feel more like a part of it.

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.

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Edgeware Road is a triumph of a book, addressing lost relationships between fathers and daughters, addressing the pressures for immigrants of setting up life in a new country & making the right choices for your family, and of discovering what it is that you never knew about your past. Deftly moving between 1980s London, which was completely bought to life by the author, and the beginning of the 21st century, when the daughter who was abandoned by her father takes steps to find out what happened to him in the intervening years. It is written with love and affection for its characters and its setting and was an absolute pleasure to read.

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A fresh voice on the literary fiction scene, Yasmin Cordery Khan writes with easy assurance about a moment in time that has largely been forgotten by all but those affected by it. She skilfully evokes the sights, sounds and smells of London in the 80s and I felt myself back there. I remember the BCCI scandal, but I was young and less interested in the details. However, the repercussions of the collapse of the bank rippled into my own life as a family friend had worked for the bank. His involvement with them was swiftly glossed over and it left the taint that something unsavoury had happened. Khan deftly shows the depth of corruption with a more human perspective as Alia Quaraishi tries to find out what happened to her father, Khalid. When she was 11 y/o, in 1987, he failed to show up for their regular meeting at Edgware Road. His body washed up from the Solent shortly afterwards and Alia moved on with her life. Now, a university professor, she wants to find out what happened to him and investigates. This may be literary fiction, but it has a propulsive, urgent narrative and Khan’s voice is so good that she pulls you along on her journey with ease. A really interesting and well written novel that feels too accomplished for a debut. Thoroughly recommend.

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I really enjoyed this book although at times, I felt it was a bit too long. The writing was wonderful though and I enjoyed all the characters.

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Slow burning but gripping; set between 1987 and 2003; you wittily alternate between Khalid’s point of view then, his daughter Alia’s there and then, and MP Mark Denby’s.

From the very first page, you get sucked in this serious and complex story, which becomes a journey through different cultures, mixing up intricacies of family dynamics, friendships, politics, struggles of immigration, traditions and communities. 

Travel with Alia to Pakistan. Explore the culture and embark on this sensory journey with her. Share her internal struggles towards her family. Accompany her in her quest for answers. 

Discover Khalid’s life in the 80s. Share his dreams and ambitions for the future, his burning desire of richness and grandeur, of making a mark. Follow his struggles as an immigrant, the toughness of finding a job, his battles as a gambling addict, along with the devastating consequences that this can have. 

Delve into the political dynamics, the dilemmas of right and wrong of Mark Denby. Share his family life, his discoveries about the dodgy BCCI bank, his secrets and his demons. 

A very cleverly drafted, very rich story, where the reader gets to peel off layer after layer, page after page, delving into deep and thoroughly crafted characters, a truly pleasant read which I strongly recommend !

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What an immense, intricate stunner of a debut. At times the swift swapping from one character perspective to another did throw me, so I’m not sure if a marker in the text could be helpful (as I know other reviewers have pointed this out too), but aside from this one minor negative, the text was a delight. The author’s elegant narrative reeled me in from the first line, and certainly didn’t read like a debut!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this absolute privilege. I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy!

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