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The Road Home [Paperback]

Rose Tremain
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jun 2007
'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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; Second Edition edition (7 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701177934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701177935
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.4 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 584,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rose Tremain's novels have won many prizes including: the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music and Silence); the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country); the Sunday Express Book of the Year, the Angel Literary Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize (Restoration) and a Giles Cooper Award (for her radio play, Temporary Shelter). Her novel The Colour, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and selected for the Daily Mail Reading Club promotion. In June 2007 Rose was made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Product Description


'Tremain allows us to see our country's wonders and failings as if for the first time' -- Glamour

'...filled with emotional richness, complex sensibility and a
passionate insistence on the humanity of the poor' -- The Sunday Times

'This is a finely balanced novel of urgent humanity...The Road
Home should keep you gripped...and fraught with anxious sympathy...'
-- The Sunday Telegraph

`...a classic work by the gifted Tremain' -- The Guardian

` interesting and at times poetic, take on the new immigrant
experience,' -- Express: Rev'd Lianne Kolirin

`...some beautifully affecting writing about nostalgia and a
father's pain. Their reunion made me cry' -- Scotland on Sunday

`A moving story, beautifully told.' -- Red Magazine: Rev'd Alex Clarke

`A thoughtful, moving, timely novel'
-- The Gloss

`It is Rose Tremain's ability to pluck triumph from disaster which
makes her such an engaging writer..' -- Literary Review

`a strikingly alert and humane profile of migrant labour...wild
and beautiful and full of woe'
-- Sunday Herald: Rev'd Brian Morton

Book Description


Rose Tremain's hugely enjoyable new novel is the up-to-the-minute story of Lev, newly arrived in London from Eastern Europe. A wise and witty look at the contemporary migrant experience.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
420 of 435 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine book from a true original 22 July 2007
Rose Tremain can, it seems, do just about anything. Each one of her books is utterly different from the last, each creates a detailed and authentic world for her characters and their quests.

In The Road Home, Tremain tells the story of Lev, an Eastern European migrant worker who has left his village and travelled to England so that he can finance a better life for his mother and daugther. He takes with him his grief for his dead wife. There is an almost fairytale-like quality to Lev's chance encounters and where they lead him, although, that said, they also feel natural and possible; Tremain has always been good on the essential randomness of experience.

Lev's London is awash with money, celebrity and complacency - an ugly picture of the way we live now - but there is nothing polemical about the book. The world Tremain creates feels real, and she allows her characters to negotiate it, and make their compromises with it, in a way that is both convincing and very poignant. There is also a rich vein of humour that runs through the book, much of which comes from the stories about and conversations with Lev's friend Rudi, who has stayed back in the village.

The 1983 Granta list of best young British novelists famously includes: McEwan, Rushdie, Pat Barker, Amis, Graham Swift. Tremain was among this group but in my view remains a little underrated. Both Music & Silence and Restoration have found critical acclaim and broad readerships, but The Colour - a fine, fine book - did less well, and The Way I Found Her is a book far less well known than it should be. Almost alone amongst that stellar group of 1983, she hasn't yet put a foot wrong.
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286 of 299 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb new novel from Rose Tremain 11 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always admired the award-winning author Rose Tremain, but her new novel THE ROAD HOME is the one that has given me the most pleasure. The tale of Lev, a middle aged Polish migrant worker, who comes to London after losing both his job and his wife, is both moving and funny. It's a marvellous take on modern Britain where foreign workers on scant wages toil away in the kitchens of posh restaurants in London and asparagus fields in Norfolk, whilst at the other end of the scale celebrity culture rules. Lev is a good man and a heroic hard worker. As he struggles to earn enough money to send home to his mother who looks after his little girl, he is helped by unexpected acts of kindness from a cast of diverse and entirely uncliched characters. Beautifully written, THE ROAD HOME is an uplifting read and highly recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ok it's a fairy tale but a life affirming one 30 Sep 2008
By Mrs. Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In language serious, studied, courtly and old-fashioned RT takes us straight into the mind of our melancholy hero Lev - not Olev - cleverly written, carefully researched and up to the minute subject.
Through a haze of cigarettes, the smoking of each one has to be respectfully described, swigs of his darling vodka lisch, all vital to him despite the poverty of his circumstances. Christy and Rudi also sharing his crutches of nicotine and alcohol until they learn that they live more happily without them..

Auror, Glic, Yarbyl, Baryn, Jor are all unrecognised as actual place names so Lev comes from an unknown to us Eastern European country, of grey trade and grey money, arriving by bus and ferry to London. Journeying with the tidy figure of Lydia beside him.
Threading through the story the memory of Marina his lost loved wife, who was a strong mother, daughter in law, friend and colleague. Looking at London and Londoners through the eyes of a new comer with only his language structure to describe it. "Sucking on bottles like anxious babies"..

A clear and effective narrative - Rudi's voice is always in Lev's head, a powerful influence on him. Although later Lev overtakes Rudi and turns his life around for him. The homespun wisdom of Lev's family pushing through his thoughts. Homesickness constantly threatening to overwhelm him. Thoughts of Rudi and his Tschevi (almost a person) Lev's innocence, naivety and simplicity is appealing. Rudi's character is attractive and impressive. When he eventually becomes "The Face Of The Place' all seems right with the world.

Ina, the grim and difficult mother/grandmother/widow whose God is asleep never reacts quite as we'd hope and is like a belligerent donkey who will not be led.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels I've read this year 21 July 2008
By Amicie
I enjoyed this novel so much that when I was three quarters of the way through I went back to the beginning and started again! Tremain is an excellent writer. Her prose is full of colourful images and she has an eye for the quirky, the absurd, which makes for an entertaining read. In this tale the line between tragedy and comedy is finely walked. Lev is a beguiling hero - in many ways brave and admirable, but also flawed. His story is sad, sometimes brutal, but always handled with compassion. This novel could easily be read as a treatise on the plight of the immigrant worker - but it is more complex than that. Ultimately it is about the irrepressiblity of the human spirit and I loved it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some memorable bits amid much unoriginality 14 Jun 2010
I found this story engaging initially as we see Lev, an unemployed 42-year-old widowed father, leave his economically dying village in Eastern Europe and travel to London in hopes of finding work as a migrant labourer, only to suffer loneliness and a sense of isolation. But then as his life turns for the better the story falls down badly and one feels very much as if Tremain lost her way while writing it, then resorted to a predictably feeble formula of ups and downs in Lev's fortunes to carry her through.

A novel needn't plumb the depths of the human psyche to make good reading, but this one disappointed me for how one-dimensional the people around Lev seemed. Even the two he got closest to in his new life, Christy the drunken Irishman and Sophie the sous-chef nymphette, felt like timeworn caricatures rather than real people, along with his vodka-swigging friend Rudi back home. Lev's only interesting relationship was with Lydia. Exclude her, and he had no meaningful conversations with anyone in the entire story. I'm aware that poverty still exists in parts of rural Eastern Europe, but its portrayal here struck me as pure invention on the author's part.

Though this novel failed to reach any heights or depths in either content or prose, and the good fortune and opportunities that suddenly befell Lev were improbable, I did feel for him and enjoyed moments of his journey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars complex believable characters
The main character is Lev, a man driven to London by a lack of work and the death of his young wife, from a town in Eastern Europe. Read more
Published 27 days ago by romaid
5.0 out of 5 stars a top class writer
very engaging read i like this author, did not want to put book down which is a sign of a good book
Published 1 month ago by David Kirkwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This is our book club book and I really enjoyed it, as did the rest of my group. We will be discussing it this week.
Published 2 months ago by A M Navein
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, beautifully written and interesting tale
I enjoyed the writing and storyline and would recommend to a friend. I would certainly read another book written by Rose Tremain.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs Sarah W Ferrier
3.0 out of 5 stars The road home
This is a quest story, of a middle-aged migrant making his way from sleeping rough through determined effort to starting a business in his home country. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. E. K. Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars suec
Was given this two years ago and thought it a really good book.Have now bought it for daughter-in-law.I know she will appreciate its thought-provoking storyline.
Published 5 months ago by SUSAN CHAPMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars The characters are seared in my head
A moving, engaging and thought-provoking book with characters you feel you know and a searing insight to the trials and sheer guts of an eastern European immigrant who comes to the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by MISS C R LEECH
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book The Road Home
I loved this book from start to finish. Beautifully written, very sensitive. Lev was amazing and I fell in love with him.
My husband is reading it now and can't put it down. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Wyn Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book
Excellent prose and an accurately observed story of a migrant in Britain. Everyone should read it, specially Daily Mail readers. George Orwell of the 21st century.
Published 6 months ago by Mr. R. Stanier
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of modern times.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main character is so loveable And so recognisable, it was a real pageturner, i was anxious to discover how he got on. Read more
Published 7 months ago by annbarker
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