Thursday, September 16, 2010

We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka



Personally I think that this author just keeps getting better with each novel published. Or maybe it is just that I have just got used to her distinctive style of combining the hilarious with the tragic.

As in her previous novels I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent portrayal of her cast of characters. What a wonderful cast of characters they are from the two main protagonists Georgie Sinclair and the elderly Naomi Shapiro right down to the smallest bit parts. Even the seven cats in the story have characters of their own.

Marina Lewycka even manages to find something amusing in glue, by using the fact that her main protagonist writes trade articles on adhesives as a clever ruse for appropriate section and chapter names. Some bits were a little scientific and went over my head, but that didn't matter. If I had been so inclined I could have done some research on adhesives but no I am not that interested. I understood enough and it was clever using glue as an allegory for human relationships and bonds, excuse the pun! At least that is how I interpreted it.

Georgie Sinclair is a journalist and would be authoress working from home, dealing with almost adult children and a marriage that is slipping away from her. She gets to know by chance an eccentric  old Jewish lady, Naomi Shapiro who lives in Canaan House a rambling but crumbling residence in the same locality. As if Georgie does not have enough to cope with, Naomi after a minor fall puts her in hospital names Georgie as her next of kin. So she finds herself with a lot more than a son obsessed with the end of the world and her daughter who keeps her distance to worry about. As she is drawn into the old woman's life, we meet a cast of eccentric characters from devious estate agents and social workers to handymen who just happen to be Arabs. Hilarious yes, but we also learn of the complexities of the Middle East Crisis. If you are at all sensitive you might find some of  the descriptions of what happened to the Jews, yes glue again and the state of Naomi's residence might well make you feel slightly nauseous. Sadly the first is a fact of life and the second a sad possibility for a lonely old lady living alone.  As Georgie tries desperately to put Naomi's life on a more even keel her own is falling apart. You will have realised by now that the coherence, yes glue again, of this story is not an easy one but I felt that Marina Lewycka's manages to tie up all the loose ends and give us a more than satisfactory ending although some may consider it a little trite.

I certainly recommend the work of this author and if you have enjoyed her previous novels will be surprised if you do not enjoy this one. I look forward to your comments.

Marina Lewycka Courtesy of Google images

Marina Lewycka is of Ukrainian origin and was born in a refugee camp in Germany in 1946 soon after the end of World War II.

This video from YouTube is the first six minutes of the audio book. Do have a listen as I think it will tempt you if my review has not already done so.

Marina Lewycka - We Are All Made of Glue (audiobook) read by Sian Thomas


My Reviews of her earlier books can be found by clicking on the titles

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Two Caravans published as Strawberry Fields in North America.

For more information on the author visit the following link.

Marina Lewycka - Wikipedia


  1. I quite liked the tractors one, it wasnt brilliant but it was a fun good read. I do have this one and the strawberries one but its going to take quite a while before I get around to reading them. My mum really liked this one, shes a big fan

  2. Yes I agree her books are definitely good fun to read, maybe it is an age thing as well, as I suspect your Mum and I are are a similar age. I do think each book has been slightly better than the previous one though.

  3. I never read this author! May be it's time to start!
    Have a nice week end!

  4. Les Cotrions - Thankyou for visiting and commenting, it is appreciated. I was loaned this book in A Bookcrossing Ring otherwise I would have happily mailed it to you.


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