From Publishers Weekly
) turns in a low-key but emotionally potent look at the melancholia of migration for her 14th book. Olev, a 42-year-old widower from an unnamed former east bloc republic, is taking a bus to London, where he imagines every man resembles Alec Guinness and hard work will be rewarded by wealth. He has left behind a sad young daughter, a stubborn mother and the newly shuttered sawmill where he had worked for years. His landing is harsh: the British are unpleasant, immigrants are unwelcome, and he's often overwhelmed by homesickness. But Lev personifies Tremain's remarkable ability to craft characters whose essential goodness shines through tough, drab circumstances. Among them are Lydia, the fellow expatriate; Christy, Lev's alcoholic Irish landlord who misses his own daughter; and even the cruelly demanding Gregory, chef-proprietor of the posh restaurant where Lev first finds work. A contrived but still satisfying ending marks this adroit émigré's look at London. (Aug.)
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Tremain�s protagonists are often faced with trials that have a fabled quality�a doomed romance in the seventeenth-century Danish court; a sex change in nineteen-fifties Suffolk�and her latest novel is no exception. Lev has left his mother and child in his village in Eastern Europe to seek work in London, bringing with him an E.U. passport, a handful of English phrases, and a small stash of cash and vodka. At first, he is repelled by what he finds: the shaved heads, the greasy food in disposable packaging, the women thrusting their breasts at him from the pages of the daily paper. But opportunities also push themselves forward in this cold new world; soon he is scheming for a way to unite his future and his past. At once timeless and bitingly contemporary, this novel explores the life now lived by millions�when one�s hope lies in one country and one�s heart in another.
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