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Two Caravans Hardcover – 29 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fig Tree; 1st Edition edition (29 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670916374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670916375
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marina Lewycka was born in Kiel, Germany, after the war, and moved to England with her family when she was about a year old. Her first novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, has sold more than a million copies in the UK alone and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, longlisted for the Man Booker and won the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction and the Waverton Good Read Award. Her second novel, Two Caravans, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans and Marina's third and fourth novels, We Are All Made of Glue and Various Pets Alive and Dead are all available in Penguin. Marina Lewycka lives in Sheffield.


Product Description

Review

Her last book was entertaining, but this one is better…Very buoyant, witty and informative (Peter Kemp The Sunday Times )

A great romp…with considerable heart and winsomeness (Literary Review )

Another black comedy masterpiece…an extraordinary, surprisingly funny tale (Easy Living )

Lewycka's heartfelt and funny novel packs as big a punch as any hard-hitting political polemic (Daily Mail )

Another winner from the author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (Woman and Home )

Marina Lewycka has pulled off another story with a big heart (Daily Express )

An extremely funny book (Times Literary Supplement ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

`A great romp...with considerable heart and winsomeness'
Literary Review

`Heartfelt and funny...packs as big a punch as any hard-hitting political
polemic' Daily Mail

`Immensely appealing. All but sings with zest for life ... could hardly be
more engaging, shrewd and winningly perceptive' Sunday Times

`Hilarious and horrifying, Two Caravans is funny, clever and well-observed'
Guardian


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There is a field - a broad south-sloping field sitting astride a long hill that curves away into a secret leafy valley. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. H. Cobb on 5 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is as good as her first book - a sometimes bleak and sometimes very funny story about the lives of Polish fruit pickers. The only thing is that it is the same book as Two Caravans, republished under a different title, which I already had. I think that this is a deplorable publishing tactic. If you haven't got it under either title, buy it - it's well worth a read. But don't get conned as I was.
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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Charles Salisbury on 14 Sep 2008
Format: Hardcover
We made the mistake of buying this book and two caravans. They are identical just published under a different title.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Orisumacdu on 10 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book could have been great.I was completely wowed until about half way through when, as other reviewers have mentioned, most of the main characters disappear. At this point the story becomes a overly drawn-out love story between two characters. I was left feeling that Lewycka had two novels to write and tried to squash them unsuccessfully into one. The first was the better novel, a study of immigrant life in the UK. There are some really fascinating and humorous parts to this novel - the views of the immigrants on their new surroundings, their impressions of each other, the exploitation of workers etc. and the part about chicken farming will stay with me forever. The second novel was about the meetings of old and new Ukraine in the characters of Irena and Andriy. Also potentially very interesting, but perhaps not a funny read. I feel very disappointed for Lewycka. She has a lovely, engaging writing style and has some very interesting ideas, but this novel just ends up an incoherent jumble of ideas. Don't even start me on the not-very-scary, may-turn-up-anywhere gangster baddie!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By French reader on 5 Jun 2008
Format: Paperback
I liked the Tractors very much, but I found Two Caravans to be a let down. The story goes all over the place and is not particularly funny. Some characters seems to disappear from the storyline whereas others keep coming back. Bits of the story are told from the Dog's point of view in "Dog language" others through the letters that a young African man sends to her sister, in his own quirky English. It just didn't work for me. It feels that throughout the story the writer was trying to hard at being funny. One good point about the book is that it gives a good insight as to what the (under)world of illegal workers is like in England these days.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 April 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marina Lewycka continues to mine the seam she opened up in A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, of immigrants (mainly from Eastern Europe, but also some from China and Africa) coming to Britain - this time to earn money picking strawberries, working on a chicken farm, in a restaurant etc. The book shows how these immigrant workers are exploited: passports confiscated by the crooked and violent agents (Eastern European themselves), miserable wages, diminished by extortionate deductions for all sorts of things, including for the rent of the most awful accommodation. Very often migrant workers also cheat compatriots who trust them, and the prejudices that citizens of one East European country have for those of a neighbouring country are also well brought out. Illegal migrants from outside the EU who pretend to be legal immigrants from EU countries (e.g. Brazilians claiming to be Portuguese) are particularly vulnerable, as the gang masters well know. There is a horrific description of the way chickens are treated in battery farms.

As in Tractors, the sombre nature of their ordeals is `lightened' by humour, though I didn't think the book was nearly as funny as the earlier book. There is again the hilariously fractured English spoken by some of the immigrants, though one of the girls, Irina, speaks remarkably good English. (She is the only character whose story is told in the first person.) The book focuses in turn on eight particular workers (and, very tediously, on the thoughts of a dog who follows them around), but the characterization is fairly shallow, certainly compared with the richness of the four central characters in Tractors.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 April 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a darkly humorous book, at times extremely poignant, at others almost slapstick, about some immigrants arriving in England to create a better life for themselves. Instead, they find themselves working for some very dodgy employers, and living in a caravan picking strawberries for a low wage. The women live in the smallest caravan, the men in the other, and together they form a small community. In this tale Lewycka has created some wonderful characters - and I was delighted to bump into Mr Mayevskyj again, from her Short History of Tractors book. There are a lot of issues covered in this story, from immigrants, to prostitution to battery farming, yet they all link together wonderfully well and form a page turning novel. The character of Dog is pure genius and I loved hearing his `voice'. I also loved the way that Irena, one of the main characters, kept comparing her romance to the storyline in War & Peace. Apparently, Lewycka got some of her inspiration for this book from The Canterbury Tales. I can see the link quite clearly because Two Tractors is also a group of people travelling and telling their own tales. I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this novel and highly recommend it.
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