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143 Reviews
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine book, but..........
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...
Published on 5 Oct. 2009 by Mr. K. H. Cobb

versus
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been great :(
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...
Published on 10 Aug. 2008 by Orisumacdu


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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Written on the back of her first success . . . ., 13 April 2008
This review is from: Two Caravans (Paperback)
Unfortunately many people, me included, have bought this book on the back of the enjoyment of Marina's first book - a Short History of Tractors . . . . . . which was an original and very funny book.

Her new book seems to me to be based on a variety of situations conjured from news items in the press and television. I found it quite sad and definitely not funny. How can a book which features at least 3 deaths, victimisation of people, the brutality of chicken farming and the death of a dog be found FUNNY or even amusing.

Sorry people, this is not what it's cracked up to be . . . . . don't be fooled.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Two Caravans (Paperback)
Love the book :) worth reading
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of a good idea, 16 Nov. 2007
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BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Two Caravans (Hardcover)
It is a great idea for a story - a novel about the lives of migrant workers in the UK. It's an important modern issue, relevant and topical, something educated readers are interested to get insight into, with plenty of scope for real, powerful drama and also humour. So it's something of an achievement, given such a gift of a topic, to have produced such a dreadful book.

Two Caravans is, I'm sorry to say, poor. I enjoyed the author's first novel, 'A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian', and was therefore very disappointed by this one. It seems like an awful waste of a good opportunity to write a really powerful, hard hitting, thought provoking novel.

From the beginning, the writing is confused and disjointed. It jumps from one point of view to another every few paragraphs, also chopping from first to third person and jumping around in time. I found it very difficult to keep the thread even though I was reading full chapters at a time. The characters are introduced hurriedly and many of them dispatched of almost as quickly. Despite the fact that they should have been interesting and sympathetic given their circumstances, I couldn't have cared less about any of them. They were flat, dimensionless and sketchy.

Rather than establishing her group of characters and their circumstances carefully, Lewycka has barely introduced them before drastically altering their circumstances. This means the reader has no sense of the upheaval they feel and no investment in the characters to want to see what happens next.

Plotwise, despite the seriousness of the issues, events are often silly, even farcical. The impression is that Lewycka couldn't decide whether to write a serious novel or a slapstick comedy, and disasterously attempts to go for both at once. There's a lot of reliance on ridiculous coincidence and improbable behaviour. I found the silliness which some of the situations are dealt with rather distasteful, as it undermines the grim seriousness of the reality. I'm sure this wasn't the author's intention, but that is the result.

Probably the strongest part of the story is the section where some of the workers are sent to a poultry processing plant. The descriptions of the appalling conditions are vivid and gruesome and, sadly, almost certainly accurate. If only the rest of the book could have been written to that standard. Fortunately our plucky Poles are rescued in utterly improbable circumstances, and it's downhill from then on.

I can't really imagine anyone enjoying this mess of a book, although clearly some readers have. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, even if you did enjoy the author's previous work. I guess I'll just have to hope that a decent author writes something worth reading on this very important modern issue. Sadly, 'Two Caravans', isn't it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying, humourous, amusing and shocking, 18 Jun. 2007
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This review is from: Two Caravans (Hardcover)
Horrifying, humourous, amusing and shocking...all at once(if that's actually possible. We're shown the plight of immigrants - mainly Eastern European, their hopes and wishes, their reality when they come to a country like the UK, and we're also shown some other "stereotypical" caricatures such as the English family.A rare and excellent example of how to write in a dialect such as broken English. I found this funnier and deeper than A Short History of Tractors .....although parts such as the Chicken farm do not make easy reading.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Caravans, 15 April 2009
This review is from: Two Caravans (Paperback)
An interesting insight into the lives of economic migrants expressed in an amusing but thought provoking manner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Two Caravans (Hardcover)
Brill look out for her!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight into migrant working, 7 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Two Caravans (Paperback)
The author provides an interesting insight into the lives of migrant workers in this country who start out strawberry picking in Kent. Her style of writing is engaging and amusing. Although I found the number of characters confusing to start with, when a few return home it is easier to follow the lives of those who stay. Even the animals (like the chickens on the chicken farm) are treated with respect which adds to the book's appeal. I enjoyed the 'happy' ending as well as the letters home of one of the characters to his African sister which describe his perspective of things and his growing understanding of 'canal' or 'carnal' knowledge.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 30 April 2007
This review is from: Two Caravans (Hardcover)
Thoroughly enjoyed this well detailed and amusing book. I would recommend it to anybody who has an opinion about Eastern European workers, as it really conveys what some of them must go through/have experienced, when they come to work here. This author is a delight to read. I couldn't wait to turn each page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Strawberry Fields (Paperback)
Another good read
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 26 July 2014
This review is from: Two Caravans (Paperback)
great humour
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Two Caravans
Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka (Paperback - 1 Mar. 2012)
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