The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney
In his forties, handsome, hardworking but woefully ignorant of British life, Lev arrives in London on a coach from Eastern Europe, determined to escape the poverty and unemployment of his homeland.
We follow his adventures in the catering industry and then vegetable-picking in East Anglia, and we share his memories of what he has left behind: his crazy friend Rudi who drives an ancient Chevrolet Phoenix, broken down and impossible to service but still an icon of American glamour in their post-Communist community; his mother Ina who makes jewellery out of scrap metal; his father Stefan who hangs rags on the trees for the dead of the forest; and his beautiful wife Marina who died of leukaemia aged thirty-six.
This is a story brim-full of poignancy and humour. I found myself thinking about the characters all the time and whenever I picked the book up to begin reading again, it was like coming in out of the cold.