Ukranian born Marina Lewycka has published several novels to great public and critical acclaim. Her debut novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian set her unique comic tone, and her latest novel, The Lubetkin Legacy, keeps this distinct voice alive. Marina talks dark comedy, entertainment, the elderly and a bedroom tax.
North London in the 21st century: a place where a son will swiftly adopt an old lady and take her home from hospital to impersonate his dear departed mother rather than lose the council flat. A time of golden job opportunities, though you might have to dress up as a coffee bean or work as an intern at an undertaker or put up with champagne and posh French dinners while your boss hits on you.
Georgie Sinclair’s husband has walked out and work is getting her down. So when she spots Mrs Shapiro, an eccentric old neighbour, rummaging through her skip in the middle of the night, it’s just the distraction she needs. And although they mistrust each other at first a firm friendship is formed. Then Mrs Shapiro is admitted to hospital and, to Georgie’s surprise, she is named as her next of kin.
Strawberry pickers in the English countryside, mostly from Eastern Europe, are leading dangerous lives, coping with exploitative employers, British regulations, and gang masters with guns, all threatening their existence as they take to the caravan road - until each of them peels off to find his or her destiny.
A beautiful summer's evening in a Kent field and around their two caravans a group of strawberry pickers celebrates a birthday. But what lies behind the buy-one-get-one-free offers at your supermarket and who picks our strawberries? The Ukrainians: Irina, just off the coach from Kiev, and Andriy, the miner's son from the other Ukraine; the Poles: Tomasz and Yola; two Chinese girls; Emanuel, the round-eyed eighteen-year-old from Malawi. And although he can't pick strawberries, there's also the Dog…
Marcus and Doro were part of a left-wing commune from the late 1960s until the early 1990s: lentils, free love, spliffs, radical politics, cheesecloth blouses, sex, housework and cooking rotas, crochet, allotments. Their children have grown up rather different from them: primary schoolteacher Clara craves order and clean bathrooms, son Serge is pretending to his parents that is still doing a Maths Ph.d. at Cambridge, while in fact making loadsamoney in the City; third child Oolie Anna, who has Down's Syndrome, is desperate to escape home and live on her own.
Serge, 28, hat ein Problem. Gerade macht er mit illegalen Zockereien an der Londoner Börse einen Haufen Kohle, da brechen die Kurse ein...
Georgie Sinclair steht vor einem Scherbenhaufen: Die Ehe mit ihrem Mann geht in die Brüche, ihr halbwüchsiger Sohn ist fasziniert von Weltuntergangs-Websites...
Sie kommen aus der Ukraine, aus Polen und Afrika. Sie leben in zwei Wohnwagen und pflücken Erdbeeren - in England. So unterschiedlich Irina und Andrij, Tomasz und Jola, Marta und Emanuel auch sind, halten sie bei Schwierigkeiten doch zusammen. Erpresserische Arbeitgeber, regelwütige Behörden und bewaffnete Gangster lassen die Truppe in einem verlotterten Wohnwagen die Flucht ergreifen.
Georgie Sinclair's husband has left her; her 16-year-old son is busy exploring fundamentalist Christian websites and becoming more distant by the day; and all those overdue articles for Adhesives in the Modern World aren't looking too appealing either.
So when she spots Mrs Shapiro, an eccentric old Jewish émigré neighbour with an eye for a bargain and a fondness for matchmaking, rummaging through her skip in the middle of the night, it's just the distraction she needs.