Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I haven't read A Short History .. but I know it was very popular with

Reading Groups. I read Two Caravans in about five days, as I found it

an easy read. Although the novel was presented through multiple

narratives, it had a straight forward plot. At first I wondered what

the significance of many of the episodes were - the trip to the old

people's home, the visit to the protesters camp - and I decided they

all had something in common. They were all people outside of society;

whether through choice or not. This gave them a connection with the

migrants.

 

Living in Dover I found the depiction of the area very amusing..

"people sullen, with tight faces".. but not entirely accurate - I

would say it is not apparent that there are a lot of immigrants in

Dover and there is certainly not any begging. We have many migrant

workers coming into the library and using email to talk with their

families back home. The book certainly made me think more about the

conditions in which they live and work, and how our food arrives in

the supermarkets. Even if we buy British, it appears that we cannot

avoid the exploitation of workers. I found the piece about the chicken

farm very upsetting, wincing at the descriptions of the overfed

animals too packed in to move.

 

The only negative comment I have to make is about the monosyllabic

first person narrative in CAPITALS of the dog. I don't think this

viewpoint was necessary at all and really detracted from the rest of

the story.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Having just finished this book I have to agree with what Mouse says about it. I was especially interested in your take, Mouse, on the emphasis being on those peoples on the margins of society. I hadn't really connected to that one, but it is so true.

 

I liked the multiple points of view. I loved the way Lewycka used language as constant unreliable narrators, even for Dog. I found this made me work more as a reader at getting to grips with what was actually going on. I like that about books.

 

I didn't like the chicken farm setting; it was so upsetting and ghastly I almost had to stop reading the book - and I am off chicken for life now! I am aware that it was trying to be funny, but somehow the humour by-passed me most of the time. One or two bits were amusing, but for the most part it fell flat.

 

Having lived in Kent for a period of about 14 years, albeit some time ago, it was interesting and intriguing to follow the excursions of the caravan and the various people. I am still trying to work out how anyone could tow a caravan through the very narrow streets of Canterbury and for that matter through the streets of London - and manage to park somewhere in the centre on waste ground!?

 

An interesting read for the most part, but I'm not sure I will be reading the Tractors in Ukrainian one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I borrowed this from my mum who had abandoned it about a fifth of the way through. I actually really enjoyed it, although I didn't like the dog perspective either Mouse. I felt it was unnecessary, although at the end it sort of made sense...it would have been a lot less effective had we not had the dog point of view.

 

The only criticism I had was that Vulk (is that the right name?) kept finding the girl (I can't remember her name) very easily...it seemed a little too coincidental to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
  • 5 months later...

I'm just about finished this. I've read it very quickly, which often means I don't enjoy a book as much, but I'm enjoying a lot about it. (It reminds me a lot of The Road Home by Rose Tremain, in subject matter and angle and viewpoint if not in style.)

And I love Dog's viewpoint. It annoyed me at first, but now I just love it ... I AM DOG. Hee hee.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Similar Content

    • By Bill
      Below is the synopsis of the latest choice for the BGO Book Group. This is currently only available in hardback, but if you buy from an online bookseller, it will cost you little more than a paperback. If you buy through us, using the BGO Amazon link, a small proportion of the cost will eventually come back to us and help subsidise the running of this site.

      Synopsis:
      For years, Nadezhda and Vera, two Ukrainian sisters, raised in England by their refugee parents, have had as little as possible to do with each other - and they have their reasons. But now they find they'd better learn how to get along, because since their mother's death their aging father has been sliding into his second childhood, and an alarming new woman has just entered his life. Valentina, a bosomy young synthetic blonde from the Ukraine, seems to think their father is much richer than he is, and she is keen that he leave this world with as little money to his name as possible. If Nadazhda and Vera don't stop her, no one will. But separating their addled and annoyingly lecherous dad from his new love will prove to be no easy feat - Valentina is a ruthless pro and the two sisters swiftly realize that they are mere amateurs when it comes to ruthlessness. As Hurricane Valentina turns the family house upside down, old secrets come falling out, including the most deeply buried one of them all, from the War, the one that explains much about why Nadazhda and Vera are so different.

      In the meantime, oblivious to it all, their father carries on with the great work of his dotage, a grand history of the tractor.

       
    • By Magwitch
      I thought I'd continue the tradition of a 'first impressions' thread for the book group choice.

      I haven't started reading Tractors yet (copy just arrived yesterday) but my very first impression is what a wonderful book jacket.
      I know some people may find it a bit gimmicky but I just love it. It is a perfect imitation of a typical Soviet book cover, right down to the colour of the ink and the slightly squint graphic. Having spent a lot of time in Soviet Russia in the early 80's I was immediately transported back there as soon as I saw it.
      Off to actually read it now....
    • By Lizzy Siddal
      The Orange Prize is awarded on Tuesday 7.6.2005 - so will this book be the winner?

      As I suggested it for the Group Read, I suppose I should be its staunchest supporter ..... however, this is not the case.

      My own reaction to the book reflects the ambivalent views already expressed in this forum.

      Initially appealing because of the quirkiness of its packaging and the humour blended with the mix of serious themes, it sounded marvellous. It got great reviews on the BBC Pageturners series and, to be fair, in almost every newspaper review I have read since then. I so wanted to love it .... and I did, for the first half of the book - I even laughed out loud more than once.

      Then, the charm faded. I felt the author backed herself into a corner with Valentina so that, in the end, she became nothing more than a charicature. I found her personal happy ending daft and completely unrealistic. (No man can be that devoted!)

      The novel was, however, powerful in its portrayal of the humiliations of old age, which at times were heartbreaking. Most fascinating of all was the sibling relationship, and I still find myself wondering how two people from the same background can become such different personages. It just shows the power of childhood experience.

      In the final analysis the intention was good and the execution lacking. I do find myself wondering what makes this book deserve the accolades it is receiving. My only answer is originality, because it has that in spades. Is that enough for it to win the Orange Prize? I personally wouldn't think so. How about you?
    • By Bill
      For years, Nadezhda and Vera, two Ukrainian sisters, raised in England by their refugee parents, have had as little as possible to do with each other - and they have their reasons. But now they find they'd better learn how to get along, because since their mother's death their aging father has been sliding into his second childhood, and an alarming new woman has just entered his life. Valentina, a bosomy young synthetic blonde from the Ukraine, seems to think their father is much richer than he is, and she is keen that he leave this world with as little money to his name as possible. If Nadazhda and Vera don't stop her, no one will. But separating their addled and annoyingly lecherous dad from his new love will prove to be no easy feat - Valentina is a ruthless pro and the two sisters swiftly realize that they are mere amateurs when it comes to ruthlessness. As Hurricane Valentina turns the family house upside down, old secrets come falling out, including the most deeply buried one of them all, from the War, the one that explains much about why Nadazhda and Vera are so different.
       
      In the meantime, oblivious to it all, their father carries on with the great work of his dotage, a grand history of the tractor.
       
      RRP: £12.99, <a href ="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/spring2005.asp?CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank">The Book Pl@ce</a> Price: £9.74
      Just click on book jacket
      <A HREF="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/display.asp?ISB=0670915602&CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank">
      <IMG SRC="http://213.253.134.29/jackets/m/067/0670915602.jpg"></A>
    • By waawo
      Restored Thread
       
      1st April 2012, 02:35 PM
      leyla
       
      *
       
      Here's my review in today's Indy on Sunday of Marina Lewycka's new novel:
       
      http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/various-pets-alive-and-dead-by-marina-lewycka-7605949.html
       
       
      #2 6th April 2012, 02:36 PM
      Viccie
       
      Lovely review and one that makes me want to read the book. Thank you Leyla.
       
       
      #3 8th April 2012, 03:33 PM
      leyla
       
      Pleasure, Viccie, thanks so much for the compliment.x
×
×
  • Create New...