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Strawberry Fields Hardcover – 16 Aug 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 16 Aug 2007
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press (16 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594201374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201370
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,250,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

`Her last book was entertaining, but this one is better...Very buoyant, witty and informative' 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

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

`An extremely funny book' Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

See all Product Description

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
When I first started reading this book, I thought it would be a light-hearted, humourous and enjoyable read. Humourous and enjoyable it certainly is, although underneath is an interesting and at times pretty shocking social commentary about migrant workers in the UK, and although highly readable, you will be incensed about some of the things the author brings to light - you will certainly never look at supermarket produce in the same way again. I'm glad I read this book, its entertaining and original and certainly makes you sit up and think.
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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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Format: Hardcover
Weaving a Pandora's box of themes and ideas into her novel, Marina Lewycka's Strawberry Fields begins in a field in rural England where a group of immigrant seasonal agricultural workers spend their days picking ripening strawberries on a ramshackle farm. Run by the officious Farmer Leapish, the farm has workers that have come from all corners of the world, including Poland Ukraine, Africa and China.

Supervised by the bossy Yola, whose main aim is to ensure that this community lives in sexual harmony, the farm is a hardscrabble world where the women always earn less than the men and where Leapish is more concerned with working with the grain of human nature to maximize both productivity and yield, than to look after the well-being of his employees.

Apart from the officious Yola the collection of workers is varied and eclectic. There's Yola's big nosed niece Marta, and two Chinese girls, and also Irina who has just arrived from Kiev, tired and disheveled, "with a faint whiff of chip fat about her." Meanwhile, the poor forty-something Thomasz, with hair to his shoulders and stringy beard, feels as though his life is just slipping away, even as Emanuel an African catholic lyrically sings his religious songs.

Orbiting all of them is Andriy, a miner's son from Donbas still haunted by the mine disaster in which he survived but where his beloved father died. What at first seems like a mild infatuation with the pure and rather snobbish Irina soon develops into a full blown romance as all of the workers are forced to flee after an accident leaves Leapish injured and Yola worrying about the police.
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