Chun-Lung, a young real estate agent in Taipei, gets word that his grandfather is seriously ill, and returns to his hometown in the countryside to handle the closing of his family’s old corner store, which his grandfather had been running for generations. As Chun-Lung prepares to shut the place down, he comes across names, faces, and words that have persisted in that place since he was a child, and his interactions with living locals and his own dormant memories pull him ever closer to his childhood. Moreover, he discovers that serving his community is as much an art as a business – an art that kept his grandfather’s store going in an age of supermarkets and convenience stores.
Though the tale of The Corner Store is the direct product of the author’s life experience, it is also a story the rest of us know all too well. Highly reminiscent of Zhang Yang’s well-known movie Shower, it tells in simple, affecting language and images the story of returning to one’s roots – or, at least, negotiating fairly with one’s past.