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Search tags: Marina-Lewycka
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review 2017-01-18 23:06
Troszkę przydługawa
Dwa domki na kółkach - Marina Lewycka

Bardzo fajna opowieść o losach emigrantów zarobkowych w UK. Jak dla mnie ostatnie 100 stron niepotrzebnie zamieniło się w ckliwe romansidło. I zakończenie też nie powala. Gdyby książka była krótsza o te 100 stron, to nic by nie straciła, a jeszcze lepiej by się ją czytało. Ale ogólnie warto przeczytać.

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review 2016-09-15 12:27
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka

It was funny, admittedly, although not quite as hilarious as all the reviews made it out to be. I guess it just depends on your sense of humour. It took a little while for me to go into this, but once I had it was an enjoyable read - perfect for the holidays. 

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text 2016-06-17 11:18
Really funny and entertaining!
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka

The entire concept of this book is amazing, and it is really funny - but nothing like I expected. Imagine an old man who suddenly discovers new life through a buxom lady - but one whom the family think is after his money. They worry - and have good reason - especially when her relative arrive. Such characters! Why the tractors? It is part of a thesis the old chap is writing, and the short exceprts of this are even interesting in their own right and not boring.

I had the slight feeling the ending was perhaps a little hurried, and the approach to point-of-view was sometimes a little questionable, but such quibbles are purely academic, for the sheer enjoyment outweights them by far. If you want cheering up, just read it! It is one of my favourites.

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review 2016-01-05 00:12
Lots of potential topics but none covered in any depth.
We Are All Made Of Glue - Marina Lewycka

 

It's hard to review this book, as I enjoyed some parts, but also felt that it was trying to be too many things while failing to fully achieve any of them.

 

The main character is Georgie who has separated from her husband and is desperately searching for a man to replace him. Her choice of Mark Diabello could not have grated more, he was such a sleaze-bag and I cringed when she let him anywhere near her.

 

She befriends an elderly lady who lives in a crumbling old mansion and scours the supermarket discounts for bargains. Mrs Shapiro is a Jew who has made her home in Britain after her family fled the Nazis. When she falls and ends in hospital, the vultures start circling, all hoping for a cut of the wealth in her house.

 

The attempts of two real estate agencies to enveigle their way into the house, with a view to its sale, is an effective metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian issues, but this conflict could have been a more central part of the novel and in my opinion would have made it a much stronger book. As it is, the subject is barely touched on in the early parts, only becoming the central issue towards the end.

 

Georgina also aspires to be a novelist and we endure painful snippets of her prospective romance novel, relating to her daily life and testing out possible ways of writing her experiences.

 

Finally, Georgie's son, Ben has found religion and is convinced that Armageddon is imminent.

 

The use of glue and adhesives (as in the title) is an attempt to bring all these discordant threads together. Most chapters begin with a glue-related title that reflects its meaning within the narrative - irritatingly trying to be clever. And Georgina is an editor for an adhesives magazine.

 

The ending? Hmm, somewhat neatly rounded off with a rather cliche ending, sadly. I had hoped for something a little more profound, having broached the issues of Jewish homelands and Arab evictions.

 

Ms Lewicke's touch of humour does surface from time to time, but I've never found her books to be hilarious. The underlying messages, centering around immigration and migrant workers, have always been the stronger feature.

 

Finally I should mention the narrator of my audiobook, Sian Thomas, who did an excellent job with the accents, particularly Mrs Shapiro and sleaze-bag Mark!

 

Also read:
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (4 stars)
Two Caravans (4 stars)

 

 

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review 2015-02-04 10:43
Two Caravans - Marina Lewycka
Two Caravans - Marina Lewycka

This one was a miss for me.

 

It's a novel about a group of strawberry pickers, all immigrant workers, and their various trials and tribulations as they journey across England in search of stability, home, love, family. There's opinionated Yola and her Christian niece Marta; innocent Emanuel of Malawi; Tomasz, guitarist from Poland; Andriy and Irina, will-they-won't-they couple from Ukraine. I suppose the core of Two Caravans is the romance between Andriy and Irina, a miner and a professor's daughter, which as far as it goes is well done: the misunderstandings between the two are nicely choreographed through the narrative voice which switches between them.

 

But that switching is equally what ruined the book for me, because it doesn't just switch between the lovers; oh, no, we get the perspectives of every single character, often on the same page, which makes the book bitty and extremely disorienting - though it has to be said that each single voice is convincingly differentiated, if a bit one-note. Also, I get the impression that Two Caravans doesn't really know what it wants to be: a humorous and hopeful look at immigrant life? Then what are all these guns doing? A gritty examination of the State of the World? Then why are we getting the perspective of an actual dog? (I'm not joking. There are numerous passages related from the point of view of, and in the voice of, a dog.) A sweet love story? What's that scene with the chickens doing, then?

 

I just think that Two Caravans is trying to do too many things all at once, and failing at all of them. It was a frustrating read for me.

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