The Road Home by Rose Tremain
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2008
Borrowed from the library.
Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, 2008.
The Road Home is the story of an East European immigrant, Lev, and his journey to England to raise money for his family. In clear, direct prose Tremain shows the reader Lev’s responses to this new world.
Homelessness, hunger, these things had to be born for a while, Lev told himself. Thousands – even millions – of people in the world were hungry and had no proper place to sleep. It didn’t necessarily mean they died or lost hope or went crazy.
But by this, the end of his first working day in London, Lev could see that it would be impossible to survive delivering leaflets for Ahmed. From a fruit stall, Lev bought two bananas, and from a bread shop, a soft white roll, and from a post office, a stamp for his Princess Diana card, and from a shop selling newspapers a pouch of tobacco, some cigarette papers, and a bottle of water – and then his five pounds was gone.
Lev meets people, makes friends, and finds work he enjoys, always remembering those he left behind. He learns he has to let go of the past in order to move into the future, and that there are thing he can just not control. He is a fully developed character, with faults and flaws, yet filled with a kind of grace. In the end Tremain creates a true sense of home for Lev, his family and family, and for the reader.
This is the first Tremain novel I have read and I loved it. I plan on reading other books by this wonderful author.