Lewycka has a truly original voice – quirky, unsettling, eyebrow-raising. All her novels thus far feature unusual settings, depict somewhat disreputable characters and have an intellectual, rather than emotional appeal. In this novel, the reader again senses that Lewycka is an astute observer of people’s eccentricities and weaknesses. Set in a suburbia that seems almost surreal, it features an old lady with an exotic past and dreadfully poor personal hygiene, seductive estate agents and a witless housewife whose husband has left her, probably with good reason. The sub-text explores the parallels between homelessness and cultural estrangement, from Denmark in World War II, to today’s Middle East. It is compellingly entertaining and leaves the reader with a yen for more from Lewycka.
I’ve also read Lewycka’s debut best-selling and multi-award-winning novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. It is excellent and her biggest “hit” so far. You might not believe that themes of tractors and the Ukraine could be interesting but they are. The novel has been translated into 35 languages, so I reckon I’m not the only one who thought it was great.
The complete list of her novels to date is:
- 2012 – Various Pets Alive and Dead
- 2009 – We Are All Made Of Glue
- 2007 – Two Caravans
- 2005 – A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian