Hilarious and tragic at the same time, a difficult combination but once again Marina Lewycka has carried it off. Another farcical tale of Ukranians and other immigrants trying to find a better life for themselves in Englands green and pleasant land.
It starts in the Strawberry fields of Kent and a series of incidents lead our protagonists Andriy and Irina to Sheffield. It starts with a much larger group of immigrants but they gradually get left along the way until we are left with just the two. The original group being exploited by their employers and the criminal types that found them the work in the first place, decide to take the caravan they currently live in on the road to find their destinys. The motley group consists of Andriy, Ukrainian, son of a miner, Polish Tomasz, Vitaly, Yola, her niece Marta, all from EasternEurope, two Chinese girls, Irina who is fairly educated and is in England to improve her English, Emanuel from Malawi and of course the dog. The latter even narrates the story at times from a dogs point of view, strange but funny! It is on the road during various adventures whilst discovering the harsh realities of life that the group disperses all over England..Among the adventures are scenes in a poultry rearing unit, which makes disturbing reading if you are overly sensitive to such unpleaseant facts. Also making a brief appearance in a nursing home adventure is the old man Nikolai Mayevskyj from the authors first novel, a clever and amusing little touch. Fishing, restaurant work, and of course the initial strawberry picking scenes are also involved in this comical but poignant view of the illegal immigrant community in England.