by Rose Tremain - £8.99 Vintage (2008)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780099478461 | ISBN 10: 0099478463
'On the coach, Lev chose a seat near the back and he sat huddled against the window, staring out at the land he was leaving ...'
Lev is on his way to Britain to seek work, so that he can send money back to Eastern Europe to support his mother and little daughter.
Readers will become totally involved with his story, as he struggles with the mysterious rituals of 'Englishness', and the fashions and fads of the London scene. We see the road Lev travels through Lev's eyes, and we share his dilemmas: the intimacy of his friendships, old and new; his joys and sufferings; his aspirations and his hopes of finding his way home, wherever home may be.
"Like 'The Colour' Rose Tremain's 'long Road Home' paints a vivid, rich picture of life in particular times and circumstance - in this case the time is now and the circumstances are those of an easter european economic migrant in contemporary britain. The picture of what the young, bereaved and hopeful Lev finds is not attractive and rings all too familiar bells for anyone who has stopped to think beyond tabloid rant. Ultimately it is a book of hope and redemption in spite of (rather than because of) the overall reception that is dished out to the man in need arriving on 'our' island. The hope and redemption comes through Lev's own spirit of determination and through the humanity of some key figures he meets along the way. It is beautifully written and you can almost feel the cold of a London doorway sleeping place. But you can also feel the growing warm smell of light at the end of the tunnel. When Lev emerges into tha light it is to a surprising, yet totally believable, outcome to all his sufferings. I almost wanted to yell outload, 'yes!'."
(Price & availability last checked: September 2018)