The Road Home



The Road Home In The Wake Of Factory Closings And His Beloved Wife S Death, Lev Is On His Way From Eastern Europe To London, Seeking Work To Support His Mother And His Little Daughter After A Spell Of Homelessness, He Finds A Job In The Kitchen Of A Posh Restaurant, And A Room In The House Of An Appealing Irishman Who Has Also Lost His Family Never Mind That Lev Must Sleep In A Bunk Bed Surrounded By Plastic Toys He Has Found A Friend And Shelter However Constricted His Life In England Remains He Compensates By Daydreaming Of Home, By Having An Affair With A Younger Restaurant Worker And Dodging The Attentions Of Other Women , And By Trading Gossip And Ambitions Via Cell Phone With His Hilarious Old Friend Rudi Who, Dreaming Of The Wealthy West, Lives Largely For His Battered ChevroletHomesickness Dogs Lev, Not Only For Nostalgic Reasons, But Because He Doesn T Belong, Body Or Soul, To His New Country But Can He Really Go Home Again Rose Tremain S Prodigious Talents As A Prose Writer Are On Full Display In The Road Home, But Her Novel Never Loses Sight Of What Is Truly Important In The Lives We Lead

  • Hardcover
  • 411 pages
  • The Road Home
  • Rose Tremain
  • English
  • 06 July 2017
  • 0316002615

About the Author: Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain s best selling novels have won many awards, including the Baileys Women s Prize, the Whitbread Novel of the Year, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Prix Femina Etranger Restoration, the first of her novels to feature Robert Merivel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer Richard Holmes.


10 thoughts on “The Road Home

  1. says:

    Fiction so convincing that it could be a true story.The journey begins with Lev s bus journey from his home in Eastern Europe to the loneliness of impersonal London Lev is into his early forties, has recently lost his wife to cancer and believes that the only way that he can support his very young daughter and his mother is to find himself a job in London His life long friend, who supposedly knows such things, has told Lev that he should be able to get by in London on 20 a week The truth bec Fiction so convincing that it could be a true story.The journey begins with Lev s bus journey from his home in Eastern Europe to the loneliness of impersonal London Lev is into his early forties, has recently lost his wife to cancer and believes that the only way that he can support his very young daughter and his mother is to find himself a job in London His life long friend, who supposedly knows such things, has told Lev that he should be able to get by in London on 20 a week The truth becomes apparent within 24 hours of his arrival at Victoria Bus Terminus when he finds out how much it s going to cost for one night s BB During the bus journey, Lev has struck up a friendship with a female teacher who already has good contacts in London Throughout the book, this lady comes to Lev s rescue in times of trouble Unsurprisingly, finding work is not as easy has Lev had thought it would be However, following his adventures, with their ups and downs, is an enjoyable ride, liberally splashed with some good humour and many touching moments and reminiscences This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry It will make you think about the society that we live in It is a wonderful book

  2. says:

    I ordered The Road Home with the usual expectations that one would have for a book by an admired author But, oh dear It is unbelievable at so many levels, as well as schematic and sentimental There are irritating little mistakes of fact that Rose Tremain shouldn t make London underground trains running on Christmas Day a man s mobile is stolen, he gets another and is instantly rung on it, even though of course the sim card will have remained in the stolen phone so no one would know his new I ordered The Road Home with the usual expectations that one would have for a book by an admired author But, oh dear It is unbelievable at so many levels, as well as schematic and sentimental There are irritating little mistakes of fact that Rose Tremain shouldn t make London underground trains running on Christmas Day a man s mobile is stolen, he gets another and is instantly rung on it, even though of course the sim card will have remained in the stolen phone so no one would know his new numberand so on But then, take her main character, Lev, who comes from an unnamed Baltic country which has just become an EU accession state he was latterly a manual worker in a wood mill, until it closed because there were no trees left to process, yet his speech patterns in his native tongue veer from the almost stupid to the incredibly wordy his inner life doesn t seem to belong to a man of his life experience and background He falls for a young, plump kitchen worker in an upmarket restaurant where he does the washing up She speaks of emporia Really I doubt she d know the word, and if she did, she d say emporiums There is something astonishingly cloth eared in the dialogue, as if all the accents and dialect Tremain gives her characters came out of a handbook.But it s plotthan anything that enrages One can see every twist and turn coming, down to the gift to Lev of money from a wealthy old woman in a nursing home for whom he has cooked good meals down to the uncanny physical similarity between a young waitress he meets on his return home to his beloved but deceased wife down to his keen eyed observation of the cooking that goes on in the kitchen where he washed up to his own future proficiency as a chef I closed the book in something approaching fury

  3. says:

    This is the tale of Lev an immigrant from an unnamed Eastern European accession country comes to London to seek his fortune, He is 42, his wife has recently died and he leaves his daughter, Maya with his mother There is an element of the fairy tale about this and we see London as a foreign and unfamiliar land through Lev s eyes Most of the people who are kindest to Lev are also similar to him Lev works in a variety of restaurants and take aways and for a brief while on the land in East Anglia This is the tale of Lev an immigrant from an unnamed Eastern European accession country comes to London to seek his fortune, He is 42, his wife has recently died and he leaves his daughter, Maya with his mother There is an element of the fairy tale about this and we see London as a foreign and unfamiliar land through Lev s eyes Most of the people who are kindest to Lev are also similar to him Lev works in a variety of restaurants and take aways and for a brief while on the land in East Anglia He also helps out in a care home for older people, manages to fall in and out of love and finds a friend in a divorced Irishman called Christy Lev sends money home and develops a dream of returning to his own country to open his own restaurant if only if he could raise enough money There you have it there are some engaging characters, especially Christy and Rudi Lev s best friend back home and it does feel a little like a fairytale There are a couple of coincidences and plot turns which reinforce this At times the dialogue doesn t sit easily and there is one particular moment of violence which strikes a discordant note The reader spends most of the book in Lev s head and he is likeable until one act which feels very out of character and is difficult to reconcile with what has gone before Apart from that one note the characters are flawed and loveable and there is a sense of community amongst the poor and oppressed which is illuminating and uplifting, sad and melancholy at the same time There were some serious flaws and irritations but I m a sucker for a fairy tale and it provided a different perspective on my country which was welcome and thought provoking

  4. says:

    This review is from The Road Home A Novel Paperback This is a truly moving story about a man who loses everything His wife dies and his job is finished so he moves to England to make a new start He is still mourning, hoomesick and ill prepared to make this transition Yet every day he gets up and chooses life He finds work, learns a new trade, finds housing, makes friends and gets a girlfriend He never gets over his homesickness but he makes steps forward each and every day He plans a f This review is from The Road Home A Novel Paperback This is a truly moving story about a man who loses everything His wife dies and his job is finished so he moves to England to make a new start He is still mourning, hoomesick and ill prepared to make this transition Yet every day he gets up and chooses life He finds work, learns a new trade, finds housing, makes friends and gets a girlfriend He never gets over his homesickness but he makes steps forward each and every day He plans a future and works for it.Truly an incredible book about a man who overcomes each and every obstacle and never loses his focus His focus is providing for his family and living a life with meaning It just spoke to me about his choices to just live his life The best book I ve read in quite some time I highly recommend it

  5. says:

    From the jacket blurb, this sounded really promising An important contemporary issue Culturally relevant Immediate Orange Prize winner Like so many others, Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work He is a tiny part of a vast diaspora that is changing British society at this very moment.I ve been able to see some of the effects of the wave of Eastern European mostly Polish immigration here in Scotland over the past couple years A Polish deli opened here in Oban and t From the jacket blurb, this sounded really promising An important contemporary issue Culturally relevant Immediate Orange Prize winner Like so many others, Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work He is a tiny part of a vast diaspora that is changing British society at this very moment.I ve been able to see some of the effects of the wave of Eastern European mostly Polish immigration here in Scotland over the past couple years A Polish deli opened here in Oban and then almost immediately closed down again People complained in the newspaper about the bus drivers not speaking English English classes have been in high demand Many of these newcomers have now left, perhaps gone back home to families with some money in their pockets.This book was disappointing on so many levels There were the niggly little things that bugged me throughout, which a good editor should have eliminated For instance, Tremain went to GREAT lengths to avoid giving Lev a specific country of origin Every time he met someone from his country which happened pretty often you could see Tremain doing an elaborate dance of avoidance around THE COUNTRY WHICH MUST NOT BE NAMED Awkward.The list of unbelievable moments is pretty long, as is the list of unconvincing characters Some examples Newcomer Lev s mobile phone rings during the opening of a fancy classical concert he runs away Mortifyingly idiotic Mole faced compatriot Lydia totally repulses Lev why then does he keep calling her Sophie the Gorgeous and Sexy Vixen ends up being just as treacherous as Christy the Bitter Irishman had predicted Go figure Lev leaves London for a bizarre but brief interlude in the asparagus fields where he gets seduced by two indistinguishable, effeminate Chinese boys No follow up to this he goes back to London and carries on where he left off, training to be a chef Whatever Lydia becomes pampered mistress to ancient symphony conductor from their country and never calls Lev back.I did like some bits The pompous, showy chef GK Ashe is hilarious as a portrait of the enormous EGO you might expect to find behind a high end urban restaurant Kitchen assistant Simone s irreverent menus for the old people s home made me laugh aloud for several minutes.Creme brulee jacked from a recipe at GK AsheorWatermelon sorbet with no black seeds or rubbish in itOverall, I found Lev s character too inconsistent to follow intimately He was brilliant and talented one minute and then a blockhead the next He also struck me as weirdly emotionless The other characters, such as Rudi, made wonderful sidekicks, but I wanted Lev to call the shots He s the chef, after all

  6. says:

    An actual novel which stands out for its realism and easy approach.This is the story of Lev, a middle aged man from Eastern Europe who has to flee from his own country in search for work, leaving his little daughter and his mother back in his beloved village, Baryn.London is the city where he travels to, weary and ignorant of his fate, harassed by mourning memories of her deceased wife, he has to struggle to find a decent life and a new sense of belonging in this strange city.I think I really lo An actual novel which stands out for its realism and easy approach.This is the story of Lev, a middle aged man from Eastern Europe who has to flee from his own country in search for work, leaving his little daughter and his mother back in his beloved village, Baryn.London is the city where he travels to, weary and ignorant of his fate, harassed by mourning memories of her deceased wife, he has to struggle to find a decent life and a new sense of belonging in this strange city.I think I really loved this novel And I say I think because it wasn t after having finished the book and after having fallen asleep with the last chapter on my mind that I realised how affected I was by Lev s story.He was flesh and bones, so real did he feel to me I found myself sympathising with him at the beginning, then hating him oftener that I thought possible, and partly understanding him by the end of the novel.He is a haunted character, passionate and selfish and very human He doesn t act as he should sometimes, specially where women are concerned, and his flaws are exactly what make him such a believable character So imperfect but so dear to the reader.This is, in the end, a sad and melancholic story But it s also a challenging one, where it s proved that with good effort, good intentions and with a little help from your friends, you can make your dreams come true And what sbeautiful, you can start over without forgetting your roots or whom you did meet on the way, learning along to look forward to the future, maybe not a better one, but the one you fought for SPOILER I found this last paragraph brilliant We won t stay here long, said Christy quietly, because I can imagine what you re feeling I surely can, because you know what There s something about it reminds me of Ireland Something extreme Eh, fella Know what I m sayin Something wild and beautiful and full of woe

  7. says:

    4.5 There is so much in the media about immigration these days, sadly, much of it giving a very negative view, and quoting soulless numbers and statistics, but how often do we get to meet the people who make up those numbers The main character in this book may be a fictional representation of one of these people, but he feels real and believable, and I became very invested in his story.the author made me care about him, and feel the emotions he was feeling.We meet Lev as he travels by b 4.5 There is so much in the media about immigration these days, sadly, much of it giving a very negative view, and quoting soulless numbers and statistics, but how often do we get to meet the people who make up those numbers The main character in this book may be a fictional representation of one of these people, but he feels real and believable, and I became very invested in his story.the author made me care about him, and feel the emotions he was feeling.We meet Lev as he travels by bus, across Europe, on a journey that he hopes will take him towards new opportunities in London, and allow him to leave behind the grief and uncertainty that was his life in his own country.He also leaves behind his young Daughter, convincing himself that he will earn enough money in England to allow him to improve her life once he returns.He finds life in London confusing and frightening, and the tiny amount of money he s brought with him certainly isn t going to sustain him, but he s determined, and slowly but surely, and with the help and kindness of those he meets along the way, he makes a kind of life for himself.The pull of his family and friends back home is always there, and as he strives to improve his life, learning new skills, we learn of what his life had been, and why he felt he had to leave it behind..at least for a while.This is a book full of great characters, which tells the story of both Lev s present, and his recent past, and takes us with him as he plans his future.a great read from a favourite author

  8. says:

    The plot is fairly straightforward Lev has recently emigrated from an unnamed Eastern European country to find work in London He meets people in this unfamiliar city that help him find his way and, when tragedy strikes back home, he finds a way to combine what he s learned in his new life with what he loves about his old life to save the day Not groundbreaking stuff However, there are virtues Tremain s descriptions, when they aren t and ing themselves to death, are so detailed and engrossi The plot is fairly straightforward Lev has recently emigrated from an unnamed Eastern European country to find work in London He meets people in this unfamiliar city that help him find his way and, when tragedy strikes back home, he finds a way to combine what he s learned in his new life with what he loves about his old life to save the day Not groundbreaking stuff However, there are virtues Tremain s descriptions, when they aren t and ing themselves to death, are so detailed and engrossing you can t help but find yourself knee deep in Lev s world.If that were all, I would have said this was an average story told in an above average way and moved on However, that isn t all More than once I read things in this otherwise average story that still make my skin crawl just thinking about them Our main character nearly strangles his romantic interest at a party, and later forces himself on her in a child s bedroom It s left intentionally unclear whether or not the act was consensual He laments to his friend that he s pretty sure he raped this woman, but this is met with littlethan an oh, darn , and the book fully expects us to still be sympathetic to his character.At another point we re introduced to two gay Chinese men, who are portrayed as incredibly feminine and childish The childish part is what bothered me They seduce Lev while he s drunk, insisting that they re providing a service, just helping him out, giving sexual favors to make Lev feel better Their touch is described as like a girls , and when Lev leaves them, he cuddles them like children and thanks them for their services The whole thing just felt very predatory and creepy.By the time the happy ending rolled around, I wasn t rooting for the main character any It would be one thing if we were meant to feel conflicted by Lev s behavior, but the book makes it pretty clear that Lev is supposed to be the hero Flawed, maybe, but in an aren t we all sort of way Unfortunately, I lost all empathy the minute he described the woman he potentially assaulted as his animal with irresistible greed for the male Not great.Evencomplaining here

  9. says:

    Review from 2009Tremain is clearly a talented writer with very descriptive writing, good dialogue, good pacing I found the story enjoyable and interesting albeit not compelling and the ability for good and complex characterisation and story line The descriptions of the restaurant were surprisingly engaging unlike the modern art and plays described , Rudi a strong character although his complete breakdown when the dam is proposed in contrast to his usual confidence is not really explored an Review from 2009Tremain is clearly a talented writer with very descriptive writing, good dialogue, good pacing I found the story enjoyable and interesting albeit not compelling and the ability for good and complex characterisation and story line The descriptions of the restaurant were surprisingly engaging unlike the modern art and plays described , Rudi a strong character although his complete breakdown when the dam is proposed in contrast to his usual confidence is not really explored and Ina s ability to make Lev guilty and downcast well portrayed.However in many other ways the novel is very flawed and in particular seems to lack authenticity Unfortunately her creative writing training does not seem to have taught her basic research and plot ending skills, which are needed here as she actually tries to write a normal novel rather than a Makine, Andrei type meditation Issues include Tremain s non specification of Lev s country simply seems to point to an unwillingness to do any research or alternately a stereotyped view that all Eastern European countries are the same incidental characters are entirely the two Chinese farm workers, an Indian landlady and Christy s eventual wife both sari wearers, a rural farmer or partly Christy s drinking and moroseness stereotypes Lev s English ability and sudden huge pay rise when needed from minimum wage to 900 a week as a head chef in a nursing home that previously had partial casual partial voluntary workers two scenes in the Nursing Home a Christmas lunch argument over crackers and cracker gifts wasof a farce, the incident when later Lev works at the home cooking GK Ashe style food with his black co worker writing a menu with descriptions such as wickedly lovely chicken with totally brilliant jus is close to embarrassing a too heavy handed attempt to draw out a wider migrant theme a kebab shop owner who gave Lev his first job later moans, completely out of the context of the book, about the lot of Arabic Muslims post 7 7 in the last sentence of the book Christy suddenly decides Lev s country is exactly like Ireland

  10. says:

    I wasn t disappointed by this book, because I am now pretty sure Rose Tremain will never write another book as brilliant as Music he was a believable character, and most of the ups and downs of his life in Britain were realistic though he was much luckier than most new immigrants when he found a job in a very smart restaura I wasn t disappointed by this book, because I am now pretty sure Rose Tremain will never write another book as brilliant as Music Silence This is a good read, with a topical subject a Polish man who has to come to find work in the UK to support his mother and daughter back in Poland I liked Lev he was a believable character, and most of the ups and downs of his life in Britain were realistic though he was much luckier than most new immigrants when he found a job in a very smart restaurant On the other hand it was rather predictable that he would end up at some point picking asparagus and living in a caravan.The book mingles humour and pathos well, and is good at conveying the sense of alienation and loneliness felt by an unwilling immigrant who knows he will never really belong, and his return home is not all sweetness and light I also liked the way he almost accidentally discovered something he really wanted to do So I did enjoy it and found it a satisfying read in many ways, but it s not a masterpiece

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