Two Caravans Paperback – 2008
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a wonderful slow charming road trip book by Marina Lewycka.
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Lewynska’s topic is both topical and sensitive, more so today than in 2007 - legal and illegal immigrant workers and their exploitation. We meet two Ukrainians, the rather snobby Irina from Kiev and the ex-miner Andriy, from Donetsk – their political and social divisions keeping them apart throughout the book; Ciocia Yola, the Polish supervisor and her religious niece, Marta; Tomasz, infatuated with Yola; Emmanuel, a convent-educated Malawian, in search of his sister [his grating naivety and the improbable letters he sends home make him one of the weaker characters] and one Chinese and one Chinese-Malaysian girl, almost added as make-weights. There are two Russian thugs, Vulk and Vitaly, who demonstrate that immigrant workers are much more likely to be exploited by their peers. Then there is a dog, named Dog, whose comments, WRIT LARGE IN CAPITALS, soon become tiresome
The group has been promised financial and other rewards as strawberry pickers in Kent but soon find the reality to be very different from their expectations –for the farmer ‘the beauty of it is that half of what you fork out in wages you can claw back in living expenses.’ The Two Caravans are where they live, squeezed in bunk beds without running water.Read more ›