I really enjoyed this book, although I wouldn't have placed it in the category 'humour'. It's about a cantankerous and eccentric old Ukrainian emigrant in England, his exploitative and manipulative new import bride, and his feuding daughters who join forces to try to get her deported. I loved the way the father's accent was written into his voice; I could really hear him in my head. Marina Lewycka is also very good at describing the garden and the surroundings.
The book is poignant, with sad and ridiculous stories of the family during WWII and since, and the author does a good job of telling all sides of the story: the plight of the defenseless old man, the desperation of the bride who just wants to secure the future of her son, a changing cast of men who are attracted to Valentina's appearance. There's a lot of humour in the book, particularly with running jokes such as Crap Car and Toshiba apples, as well as the arguments and the string of cars, not to mention Valentina's appearance. If this book were to be filmed, I'm sure it would be hilarious, with lots of slapstick scenes, but the book has far more depth, and I think that might be lost in a film. There is an undercurrent of sympathy with immigrants and refugees, particularly those from former Eastern Bloc countries, who are often treated and portrayed with resentment, in contrast to the refugees who came after WWII and were welcomed with open arms.
I shall be looking forward to more books by this author. This book was on the 2008 version of the '1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die' List. I'm not sure if it deserves that; I suspect it was chosen because it mentioned the Ukraine and was a popular book that year. Nevertheless, it's definitely worth reading.
Released 7 mos ago (3/18/2018 UTC) at OBCZ 't Hof: Lunch & High Tea in Oss, Noord-Brabant Netherlands
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Taken to the Dutch Book Week meeting in Oss.
I read this a long time ago, but I'm not sure if I've reviewed it.
This book has been released as part of the following BookCrossing challenges:
- The Ultimate Challenge - read and release books, with extra points for a monthly theme
- Reduce Mount TBR (To Be Read) - read and release books on the TBR list since before the end of 2017. My reading goal for older books is 12 books.
- 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge. 2018 goal: 12.
- 666 Challenge (countries) - ongoing: Ukraine