In the idyll of the English countryside, on a beautiful summer's evening in a Kent field, and around their two caravans, a little group of strawberry pickers is getting ready to celebrate a birthday. But who picks our strawberries these days? The Ukrainians: Irina, just off the coach from Kiev, and eager to improve her excellent English and find true love with a romantic Englishman; Andriy, the miner's son from the other Ukraine; the Poles: Bob Dylan fan, Tomasz, (whose smelly trainers will soon punish those in the men's caravan), Yola, the petite, voluptuous gangmistress and her religious niece Marta, who finds the wild mushrooms to cook with the sliced loaf; then there is Vitaly, king of the new mobilfon world of the shiny new Eastern Europe; two Chinese girls; Emanuel, the round eyed eighteen-year-old from Malawi, come to England to look for his sister. And although he can't exactly help pick strawberries, there's also the Dog...But these are a group leading dangerous lives - exploitative employers, British regulations and gang masters with guns will all threaten their existence as they take to the caravan road until each of them peels off to find their destiny. Hilarious, gritty, moving, and slapstick by turns, "Two Caravans" has every bit of the extraordinary distinctiveness and wit and heart that made "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" so successful.
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.