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Review from 2009Tremain is clearly a talented writer with very descriptive writing ood dialogue ood pacing I found the story enjoyable and interesting albeit not compelling and the ability for ood and complex characterisation and story line The descriptions of the restaurant were surprisingly engaging unlike the modern art and plays described Rudi a strong character although his complete breakdown when the dam is proposed in contrast to his usual confidence is not really explored and Ina s ability to make Lev uilty and downcast well portrayedHowever in many other ways the novel is very flawed and in particular seems to lack authenticity Unfortunately her creative writing training does not seem to have taught her basic research and plot ending skills which are needed here as she actually tries to write a normal novel rather than a Makine Andrei type meditation Issues include Tremain s non specification of Lev s country simply seems to point to an unwillingness to do any research or alternately a stereotyped view that all Eastern European countries are the same incidental characters are entirely the two Chinese farm workers an Indian landlady and Christy s eventual wife both sari wearers a rural farmer or partly Christy s drinking and moroseness stereotypes Lev s English ability and sudden huge pay rise when needed from minimum wage to 900 a week as a head chef in a nursing home that previously had partial casual partial voluntary workers two scenes in the Nursing Home a Christmas lunch argument over crackers and cracker ifts was of a farce the incident when later Lev works at the home cooking GK Ashe style food with his black co worker writing a menu with descriptions such as wickedly lovely chicken with totally brilliant jus is close to embarrassing a too heavy handed attempt to draw out a wider migrant theme a kebab shop owner who ave Lev his first job later moans completely out of the context of the book about the lot of Arabic Muslims post 7 7 in the last sentence of the book Christy suddenly decides Lev s country is exactly like Ireland An actual novel which stands out for its realism and easy approachThis is the story of Lev a middle aged man from Eastern Europe who has to flee from his own country in search for work leaving his little daughter and his mother back in his beloved village BarynLondon is the city where he travels to weary and ignorant of his fate harassed by mourning memories of her deceased wife he has to struggle to find a decent life and a new sense of belonging in this strange cityI think I really loved this novel And I say I think because it wasn t after having finished the book and after having fallen asleep with the last chapter on my mind that I realised how affected I was by Lev s storyHe was flesh and bones so real did he feel to me I found myself sympathising with him at the beginning then hating him oftener that I thought possible and partly understanding him by the end #Of The NovelHe Is A #the novelHe is a character passionate and selfish and very human He doesn t act as he should sometimes specially where women are concerned and his flaws are exactly what make him such a believable character So imperfect but so dear to the readerThis is in the end a sad and melancholic story But it s also a challenging one where it s proved that "With Good Effort Good " good effort ood and with a little help from your friends you can make your dreams come true And what s beautiful you can start over without forgetting your roots or whom you did meet on the way learning along to look forward to the future maybe not a better one but the one you fought forSPOILERI found this last paragraph brilliant We won t stay here long said Christy uietly because I can imagine what you re feeling I surely can because you know what There s something about it reminds me of Ireland Something extreme Eh fella Know what I m sayin Something wild and beautiful and full of woe This is the tale of Lev an immigrant from an unnamed Eastern European accession country comes to London to seek his fortune He is 42 his wife has recently died and he leaves his daughter Maya with his mother There is an element of the fairy tale about this and we see London as a foreign and unfamiliar land through Lev s eyes Most of the people who are kindest to Lev are also similar to him Lev works in a variety of restaurants and take aways and for a brief while on the land in East Anglia He also helps out in a care home for older people manages to fall in and out of love and finds a friend in a divorced Irishman called Christy Lev sends money home and develops a dream of returning to his own country to open his own restaurant if only if he could raise enough money There you have it there are some engaging characters especially Christy and Rudi Lev s best friend back home and it does feel a little like a fairytale There are a couple of coincidences and plot turns which reinforce this At times the dialogue doesn t sit easily and there is one particular moment of violence which strikes a discordant note The reader spends most of the book in Lev s head and he is likeable until one act which feels very out of character and is difficult to reconcile with what has one before Apart from that one note the characters are flawed and loveable and there is a sense of community amongst the poor and oppressed which is illuminating and uplifting sad and melancholy at the same time There were som. Lev is on his way to Britain to seek work so that he can send money back to eastern Europe to support. ,

The road homeHis woman but this is met with #little than an oh and the book fully expects us to still be sympathetic to his #than an oh darn and the book fully us to still be sympathetic to his another point we re introduced to two ay Chinese men who are portrayed as incredibly feminine and childish The childish part is what bothered me They seduce Lev while he s drunk insisting that they re providing a service just helping him out Keys to inner space giving sexual favors to make Lev feel better Their touch is described as like airls and when Lev leaves them he cuddles them like children and thanks them for their services The whole thing just felt very predatory and creepyBy the time the happy ending rolled around I wasn t rooting for the main character any It would be one thing if we were meant to feel conflicted by Lev s behavior but the book makes it pretty clear that Lev is supposed to be the hero Flawed maybe but in an aren t we all sort of way Unfortunately I lost all empathy the minute he described the woman he potentially assaulted as his animal with irresistible Winner Takes All greed for the maleNotreatEven complaining here From the jacket blurb this sounded really promising An important contemporary issue Culturally relevant Immediate Orange Prize winnerLike so many others Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain seeking work He is a tiny part of a vast diaspora that is changing British society at this very momentI ve been able to see some of the effects of the wave of Eastern European mostly Polish immigration here in Scotland over the past couple years A Polish deli opened here in Oban and then almost immediately closed down again People complained in the newspaper about the bus drivers not speaking English English classes have been in high demand Many of these newcomers have now left perhaps Registers of Illuminated Villages gone back home to families with some money in their pocketsThis book was disappointing on so many levels There were the niggly little things that bugged me throughout which aood editor should have eliminated For instance Tremain went to GREAT lengths to avoid iving Lev a specific country of origin Every time he met someone from his country which happened pretty often you could see Tremain doing an elaborate dance of avoidance around THE COUNTRY WHICH MUST NOT BE NAMED AwkwardThe list of unbelievable moments is pretty long as is the list of unconvincing characters Some examples Newcomer Lev s mobile phone rings during the opening of a fancy classical concert he runs away Mortifyingly idiotic Mole faced compatriot Lydia totally repulses Lev why then does he keep calling her Sophie the Gorgeous and Sexy Vixen ends up being just as treacherous as Christy the Bitter Irishman had predicted Go figure Lev leaves London for a bizarre but brief interlude in the asparagus fields where he ets seduced by two indistinguishable effeminate Chinese boys No follow up to this he oes back to London and carries on where he left off training to be a chef Whatever Lydia becomes pampered mistress to ancient symphony conductor from their country and never calls Lev backI did like some bits The pompous showy chef GK Ashe is hilarious as a portrait of the ENORMOUS EGO YOU MIGHT EXPECT TO FIND BEHIND A EGO you might expect to find behind a end urban restaurant Kitchen assistant Simone s irreverent menus for the old people s home made me laugh aloud for several minutesCreme brulee jacked from a recipe at GK AsheorWatermelon sorbet with no black seeds or rubbish in itOverall I found Lev s character too inconsistent to follow intimately He was brilliant and talented one minute and then a blockhead the next He also struck me as weirdly emotionless The other characters such as Rudi made wonderful sidekicks but I wanted Lev to call the shots He s the chef after all I ordered The Road Home with the usual expectations that one would have for a book by an admired author But oh dear It is unbelievable at so many levels as well as schematic and sentimental There are irritating little mistakes of fact that Rose Tremain shouldn t make London underground trains running on Christmas Day a man s mobile is stolen he ets another and is instantly rung on it even though of course the sim card will have remained in the stolen phone so no one would know his new numberand so on But then take her main character Lev who comes from an unnamed Baltic country which has just become an EU accession state he was latterly a manual worker in a wood mill until it closed because there were no trees left to process yet his speech patterns in his native tongue veer from the almost stupid to the incredibly wordy his inner life doesn t seem to belong to a man of his life experience and background He falls for a young plump kitchen worker in an upmarket restaurant where he does the washing up She speaks of emporia Really I doubt she d know the word and if she did she d say emporiums There is something astonishingly cloth eared in the dialogue as if all the accents and dialect Tremain Firmin gives her characters came out of a handbookBut it s plot than anything that enrages One can see every twist and turn coming down to theift to Lev of money from a wealthy old woman in a nursing home for whom he has cooked Mobilizing Minds good meals down to the uncanny physical similarity between a young waitress he meets on his return home to his beloved but deceased wife down to his keen eyed observation of the cooking thatoes on in the kitchen where he washed up to his own future proficiency as a chef I closed the book in something approaching fury. Ons and fads of the London scene We see the road Lev travels through his eyes and we share his dilemma.

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E serious flaws and irritations but I m a sucker for a fairy tale and it provided a different perspective on my country which was welcome and thought provoking I wasn t disappointed by this book because I am now pretty sure Rose Tremain will never write another book as brilliant as Music Silence This is a The Building Accounts of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 1517-18 good read with a topical subject a Polish man who has to come to find work in the UK to support his mother and daughter back in Poland I liked Lev he was a believable character and most of the ups and downs of his life in Britain were realistic though he was much luckier than most new immigrants when he found a job in a very smart restaurant On the other hand it was rather predictable that he would end up at some point picking asparagus and living in a caravanThe book mingles humour and pathos well and isood at conveying the sense of alienation and loneliness felt by an unwilling immigrant who kn 45There is so much in the media about immigration these days sadly much of it But That I Cant Believe! giving a very negative view and uoting soulless numbers and statistics but how often do weet to meet the people who make up those numbersThe main character in this book may be a fictional representation of one of these people but he feels real and believable and I became very invested in his storythe author made me care about him and feel the emotions he was feelingWe meet Lev as he travels by bus across Europe on a journey that he hopes will take him towards new opportunities in London and allow him to leave behind the Grange-Enders grief and uncertainty that was his life in his own countryHe also leaves behind his young Daughter convincing himself that he will earn enough money in England to allow him to improve her life once he returnsHe finds life in London confusing and frightening and the tiny amount of money he s brought with him certainly isn toing to sustain him but he s determined and slowly but surely and with the help and kindness of those he meets along the way he makes a kind of life for himselfThe pull of his family and friends back home is always there and as he strives to improve his life learning new skills we learn of what his life had been and why he felt he had to leave it behindat least for a whileThis is a book full of Boku Loli! 2 great characters which tells the story of both Lev s present and his recent past and takes us with him as he plans his futureareat read from a favourite author This review is from The Road Home A Novel Paperback This is a truly moving story about a man who loses everything His wife dies and his job is finished so he moves to England to make a new start He is still mourning hoomesick and ill prepared to make this transition Yet every day he The Million-Dollar Bloodhunt gets up and chooses life He finds work learns a new trade finds housing makes friends andets a Carrion Comfort girlfriend He neverets over his homesickness but he makes steps forward each and every day He plans a future and works for itTruly an incredible book about a man who overcomes each and every obstacle and never loses his focus His focus is providing for his family and living a life with meaning It just spoke to me about his choices to just live his life The best book I ve read in uite some time I highly recommend it Fiction so convincing that it could be a true storyThe journey begins with Lev s bus journey from his home in Eastern Europe to the loneliness #of impersonal london lev is into his early #impersonal London Lev is into his early has recently lost his wife to cancer and believes that the only way that he can support his very young daughter and his mother is to find himself a job in London His life long friend who supposedly knows such things has told Lev that he should be able to et by in London on 20 a week The truth becomes apparent within 24 hours of his arrival at Victoria Bus Terminus when he finds out how much it s oing to cost for one night s BB During the bus journey Lev s Nobody Likes You going to cost for one night s BB During the bus journey Lev struck up a friendship with a female teacher who already hasood contacts in London Throughout the book this lady comes to Lev s rescue in times of trouble Unsurprisingly finding work is not as easy has Lev had thought it would be However following his adventures with their ups and downs is an enjoyable ride liberally splashed with some ood humour and many touching moments and reminiscences This book will make you laugh and it Will Make You Cry It make you cry It make you think about the society that we live in It is a wonderful book The plot is fairly straightforward Lev has recently emigrated from an unnamed Eastern European country to find work in London He meets people in this unfamiliar city that help him find his way and when tragedy strikes back home he finds a way to combine what he s learned in his new life with what he loves about his old life to save the day Not roundbreaking stuff However there are virtues Tremain s descriptions when they aren t anding themselves to death are so detailed and engrossing you can t help but find yourself knee deep in Lev s worldIf that were all I would have said this was an average story told in an above average way and moved on However that isn t all More than once I read things in this otherwise average story that still make my skin crawl just thinking about them Our main character nearly strangles his romantic interest at a party and later forces himself on her in a child s bedroom It s left intentionally unclear whether or not the act was consensual He laments to his friend that he s pretty sure he raped His mother and little daughter He struggles with the mysterious rituals of 'Englishness' and the fashi.

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