From the author of the international bestseller A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian comes a tender and hilarious novel about a crew of migrant workers from three continents who are forced to flee their English strawberry field for a journey across all of England in pursuit of their various dreams of a better future. First published in the UK as Two Caravans; later published elsewhere as Strawberry Fields
Lewycka's second book was first published in the UK as "Two Caravans"; and later in the USA and elsewhere as "Strawberry Fields".
From the author of the international bestseller A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian comes a tender and hilarious novel about a crew of migrant workers from three continents who are forced to flee their English strawberry field for a journey across all of England in pursuit of their various dreams of a better future.
Somewhere in the heart of the green and pleasant land called England is a valley filled with strawberries. A group of migrant workers, who hail from Eastern Europe, China, and Africa have come here to harvest them for delivery to British supermarkets, and end up living in two small trailer homes, a men's trailer and a woman's trailer. They are all seeking a better life (and in their different ways they are also, of course, looking for love) and they've come to England, some legally, some illegally, to find it. They are supervised-some would say exploited-by Farmer Leaping, a red-faced Englishman who treats everyone equally except for the Polish woman named Yola, the boss of the crew, who favors him with her charms in exchange for something a little extra on the side. But the two are discreet, and all is harmonious in this cozy vale-until the evening when Farmer Leaping's wife comes upon him and Yola and does what any woman would do in this situation: She runs him down in her red sports car. By the time the police arrive the migrant workers have piled into one of the trailer homes and hightailed it out of their little arcadia, thus setting off one of the most enchanting, merry, and moving picaresque journeys across the length and breadth of England since Chaucer's pilgrims set off to Canterbury.
Along the way, the workers' fantasies about England keep rudely bumping into the ignominious, brutal, and sometimes dangerous realities of life on the margins for immigrants in the new globalized labor market. Some of them meet terrible ends, some give up and go back home, but for those who manage to hang in for the full course of this madcap ride, the rewards-like the strawberries-prove awfully sweet-especially for the young Ukrainians from opposite sides of the tracks, Andriy and Irina, whose initial mutual irritation blossoms into love.
There is a field - a broad south-sloping field sitting astride a long hill that curves away into a secret leafy valley. It is sheltered by dense hedges of hawthorn and hazel threaded through with wild roses and evening-scented honeysuckle. In the mornings, a light breeze carries up over The Downs, just enough to kiss the air with the fresh salty tang of the English Channel. In fact so delightful is the air that, sitting up here, you might think you were in paradise. And in the field are two trailers, a mens trailer and a womens trailer.
If this were really the Garden of Eden, though, there ought to be an apple tree, thinks Yola. But it is the Garden of England, and the field is full of ripening strawberries. And instead of a snake, they have the Dumpling.
Sitting on the step of the womens trailer, painting her toenails fuchsia pink, petite, voluptuous Yola watches the Dumplings Land Rover pull in through the gate at the ...
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Two Caravans is the hilarious and engaging second novel from bestselling author Marina Lewycka.
A field of strawberries in Kent...
And sitting in it are two caravans - one for the men and one for the women. The residents are from all over: miner's son Andriy is from the old Ukraine, while sexy young Irina is from the new: they each other warily. There are the Poles, Tomasz and Yola; two Chinese girls; and Emauel from Malawi. They're all here to pick strawberries in England's green and pleasant land.
But these days England's not so pleasant for immigrants. Not with Russian gangster-wannabes like Vulk, who's taken a shine to Irina and thinks kidnapping is a wooing strategy. And so Andriy - who really doesn't fancy Irina, honest - must set off in search of that girl he's not in love with.
'Immensely appealing. All but sings with zest for life...could hardly be more engaging, shrewd and winningly perceptive' Sunday Times
'Extremely funny, closely observed insights, scenes of farce, tragedy and horror' The Times Literary Supplement
'Hilarious and horrifying, Two Caravans is funny, clever and well observed' Guardian
Bestselling author Marina Lewkyca has received great critical acclaim since the publication of her hilarious first novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian in 2005, which was the winner of the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction 2005, winner of the Saga Award for Wit 2005, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2005 and longlisted for the Booker prize 2005. Her other humorous novels We Are All Made of Glue and Various Pets Alive and Dead are also available from Penguin. Two Caravans is published as Strawberry Fields in the USA and Canada.