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The Road Home

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  7,268 Ratings  ·  687 Reviews
From the author of The Gustav Sonata

Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work. Behind him loom the figures of his dead wife, his beloved young daugher and his outrageous friend Rudi who - dreaming of the wealthy West - lives largely for his battered Chevrolet. Ahead of Lev lies the deep strangeness of the British: their hostile streets, their clannish
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 12th 2008 by Vintage (first published May 21st 2007)
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Lance Greenfield
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fiction so convincing that it could be a true story.

The journey begins with Lev's bus journey from his home in Eastern Europe to the loneliness of impersonal London. Lev is into his early forties, has recently lost his wife to cancer and believes that the only way that he can support his very young daughter and his mother is to find himself a job in London. His life-long friend, who supposedly knows such things, has told Lev that he should be able to get by in London on £20 a week. The truth bec
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I ordered The Road Home with the usual expectations that one would have for a book by an admired author. But, oh dear. It is unbelievable at so many levels, as well as schematic and sentimental.
There are irritating little mistakes of fact that Rose Tremain shouldn't make: London underground trains running on Christmas Day; a man's mobile is stolen, he gets another and is instantly rung on it, even though of course the sim card will have remained in the stolen phone so no one would know his new
This is the tale of Lev an immigrant from an unnamed Eastern European accession country comes to London to seek his fortune, He is 42, his wife has recently died and he leaves his daughter, Maya with his mother. There is an element of the fairy tale about this and we see London as a foreign and unfamiliar land through Lev’s eyes.
Most of the people who are kindest to Lev are also similar to him. Lev works in a variety of restaurants and take aways and for a brief while on the land in East Anglia
Susan Johnson
This review is from: The Road Home: A Novel (Paperback)
This is a truly moving story about a man who loses everything. His wife dies and his job is finished so he moves to England to make a new start. He is still mourning, hoomesick and ill prepared to make this transition. Yet every day he gets up and chooses life. He finds work, learns a new trade, finds housing, makes friends and gets a girlfriend. He never gets over his homesickness but he makes steps forward each and every day. He plans a f
From the jacket blurb, this sounded really promising. An important contemporary issue. Culturally relevant. Immediate! Orange Prize winner!
Like so many others, Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work. He is a tiny part of a vast diaspora that is changing British society at this very moment.

I've been able to see some of the effects of the wave of Eastern European (mostly Polish) immigration here in Scotland over the past couple years. A Polish deli opened here in Oban and t
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
An actual novel which stands out for its realism and easy approach.
This is the story of Lev, a middle aged man from Eastern Europe who has to flee from his own country in search for work, leaving his little daughter and his mother back in his beloved village, Baryn.
London is the city where he travels to, weary and ignorant of his fate, harassed by mourning memories of her deceased wife, he has to struggle to find a decent life and a new sense of belonging in this strange city.

I think I really lo
May 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I wasn't disappointed by this book, because I am now pretty sure Rose Tremain will never write another book as brilliant as Music & Silence. This is a good read, with a topical subject: a Polish man who has to come to find work in the UK to support his mother and daughter back in Poland. I liked Lev; he was a believable character, and most of the ups and downs of his life in Britain were realistic -- though he was much luckier than most new immigrants when he found a job in a very smart rest ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awards-winners
This well wrought book tells an immigrant's experience, which seems to be a popular theme these days. London in particular has served as the locus for many of these novels, but rarely has one been so well presented as this. Lev, Tremain's widower hero, leaves an unnamed Eastern Bloc country, taking the familiar route of heading to a more prosperous country in order to provide a better life for his family back home. But the vitality of the writing and the characterizations are so vividly drawn th ...more
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Fiona and Jon
Shelves: xx-2010-xx
Tremain's writing sweeps you off like a soft stroll through fall leaves. It is completely effortless, and you are completely immersed in her world from the first page. The characters, many of whom come from different cultures and backgrounds, are real people. They just are, and you never question it. The story, although interesting, isn't the big draw here. Rather, it's Tremain's way of immediately drawing you in from the first, and somehow churning you out when she's finished, leaving you with ...more
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Zanimljiva priča o liku - mladom udovcu koji iz jedne države u Istočnoj Europi (članice EU) ide tražit posao u London. Malu kćerkicu ostavlja baki na brizi...Što ga sve čeka i kako će završiti ta njegova patraga za poslom i ušteđevinom, vrijedi čitanja jer spisateljica jako lijepo piše...iako pred kraj malo mi je izgledalo da je imal i vraški dobru sreć sve u svemu jako, jako dobro!! 4,5 zvijezdica
Ken French
Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up on a whim but really enjoyed it.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Road Home' is another profound and moving novel by the always reliable Rose Tremain.

How does Rose Tremain create such flawed but compelling characters?

And think her way into their mindset, and evoke their inner lives so convincingly?

In this instance, the central character is Lev, an unemployed father from eastern Europe, who travels to London to seek work. Through Lev's eyes, we get a chillingly accurate view of London through the eyes of a newly arrived, modern-day economic migrant, and
Ian Mapp
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The plot is fairly straightforward: Lev has recently emigrated from an unnamed Eastern European country to find work in London. He meets people in this unfamiliar city that help him find his way and, when tragedy strikes back home, he finds a way to combine what he's learned in his new life with what he loves about his old life to save the day. Not groundbreaking stuff. However, there are virtues. Tremain's descriptions, when they aren't "and"ing themselves to death, are so detailed and engrossi ...more
Gumble's Yard
Review from 2009

Tremain is clearly a talented writer with very descriptive writing, good dialogue, good pacing (I found the story enjoyable and interesting albeit not compelling) and the ability for good and complex characterisation and story line. The descriptions of the restaurant were surprisingly engaging (unlike the modern art and plays described), Rudi a strong character (although his complete breakdown when the dam is proposed in contrast to his usual confidence is not really explored) an
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Almost escapist literature, light and pleasant, with some dark corners - funny at times, somewhat predictable at others, less so at others, but flowing well and making you think every so often.

What I really loved in Tremains' style is in describing the characters true possibly other characters' dialogue: so based on the protagonist Lev's own words I was picturing this man hailing from some unspecified Easter European country, who turned to Vodka as often as possible, as some burly, borderline a
Here's the thing about fiction: I could read for hours about the plight of immigrants and still not know what it felt like to BE an immigrant. But within a few pages of this beautiful, heartbreaking novel I could empathize with Lev and begin to imagine what it would feel like to start over in a foreign place (for Lev, London is his new home).

I have lived all my life in two states in Western US. I love to travel, but I always know home is waiting there for me. What a hardship it would be to leav
Sorry ladies but I didn't manage to like this book as the majority of the readers have done. Perhaps I am not in the right mood for read this book.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? Rose Tremain is a gift, I feel like I want to own every book she has ever written.

This is about an immigrant from Eastern Europe, trying to find his way through life in London - painting a very familiar picture of Britain that makes me wonder why anyone ever wants to come here.

I have read two others by Tremain - Music & Silence set in Denmark in the 1600's and Restoration set during the restoration of King Charles II. The Road Home is a lot different - it feels less dreamy,
Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Am writing this in post read glow. I love Tremain, i definately need to read more. Music and Silence was such a treasure of a book for me, and this one so totally different it threw me for a bit. The setting of a gritty and real London, people struggling to get by, cold bitter and grim was a little close to home. But once that feeling passed I had to acknowledge that It was good to be reading about real life, current issues and struggles. I think Tremains real gift in this was her characterisati ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: award-winners
Our latest book group read, this one was voted for to my disappointment as I wanted to read Jennifer Egan's 'Visit from the Goon Squad' so I did too, and was distinctly underwhelmed (a lot of life is all about expectation I guess), but this book made me cry. And that is a rare occurrence. Although the 'best' word I've found to describe the prose is 'stiff' and the story is drawn out, it's a book that makes you sit up and consider your own prejudices as you increasingly want Lev to win through, t ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Overbylass
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
“When you’re old nobody touches you nobody listens to you—not in this bloody that’s what I do. I touch and I listen.”

This novel tells the story of Lev who leaves his home country and like so many others is heading west. His wife, Marina, has died of leukaemia, his five-year-old daughter, Maya, is living with her grandmother and 42-year-old Lev, a former lumberyard worker is travelling to London to find work.

Lev arrives in a dusty, midsummer city full of hope but things, however, do no
Christina Rochester
The Road Home tells the story of Lev, a Ukrainian who makes the journey to England in order to make life better for his family. He sends money back, but along the way he makes multiple mistakes, and really discovers who his true friends are.

I felt that this was a little bit meh. Like I enjoyed the story, and could frequently tell my partner what was happening in it, but at the same time I just wasn’t captured by it. The only thing that really caught me was my feelings of dislike for Sophie. Sop
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
I just loved, loved, loved this book. It is so beautifully written that I wanted to read it slowly to savour every word. The story is of an Eastern European man, Lev, who goes to London to look for work so he can send back money to his family. It is a truly humbling book that made me see just how much we take things for granted over here - work, acceptance, even dreams don't seem so far off for us like they do for Lev. I found it a really powerful book and although this is the first of Tremain's ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of Rose Tremain's novels I've read, and it won't be the last.I thoroughly enjoyed this rags-to-riches story about Lev, our modern day Dick Whittington, who leaves his home in an eastern European country to find work in London so that he can send home much needed money to his mother and his young daughter still living back home. The story touches your heart, evokes various emotions -sadness, happiness, anger, annoyance...
The characters are very real in the novel. None are perfec
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4+ I am still thinking about this novel about an Eastern European man who immigrates to London to make a better life for his daughter and mother. Tremain is a wonderful writer and her portrayal of Lev - with all his troubles and dreams was just so well done
Rachel Stevenson
Rose Tremain is an old fashioned storyteller. A, then B, then C and D happen in that order, interspersed with flashbacks that contrast (food, landscape, customs) with the current situation. She tells, not shows: she describes her hero, Lev, on the first page, sprinkled with conversation so as not to dump too much info. Lev is travelling from an un-named East European country (I thought it a Poland-Hungary-Ukraine hybrid) to England to find work to support his 5 year old motherless daughter. Yep, ...more
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audiobook, library
This took me a while to get into but when I did, I enjoyed it. Lev, an economic migrant from an unnamed Eastern European country, has come to England to find work, having lost his wife to leukaemia and his job in a timber mill. This novel details his experiences upon his arrival in London and his subsequent actions. Lev is the protagonist of this work but I found him less than sympathetic. He is strangely emotionless and non-reactive, unless under the influence of alcohol, and some of his action ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it
The writer says she talked to the Polish workers before starting this novel so we assume Lev is polish but to give her imagination a free rein, Tremain made up the names of the places and whatsoever. She tries to show that Britain has become a multinational country which consists of different colors and ethnic backgrounds and she want to cry out for compassion and tolerance for such differences. In a hidden subtext maybe she’s saying that this is actually the ‘cultural cornucopia’ that Britain h ...more
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Goodreads Ireland: November Monthly Read 2013: The Road Home 80 40 Nov 21, 2013 07:10AM  
what do you think of 2013 world book night list? 1 19 Nov 08, 2012 08:08AM  
Read by Theme: The Road Home by Rose Tremain 2 32 Aug 01, 2012 07:52AM  
  • The Idea of Perfection
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  • A Crime in the Neighborhood
  • Molly Fox's Birthday
  • Small Island
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  • Property
  • Notes from an Exhibition
  • Larry's Party
  • Random Acts Of Heroic Love
  • Iris & Ruby
  • Ice Road
  • Diary of an Ordinary Woman
  • Homestead
  • Restless
  • The Wilderness
  • Yesterday's Weather
Rose Tremain's best-selling novels have won many awards, including the Baileys Women's Prize, the Whitbread Novel of the Year, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Prix Femina Etranger. Restoration, the first of her novels to feature Robert Merivel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer Richard Holmes.
More about Rose Tremain

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“He’d never seen a rain quite like this so gentle that it seemed barely to fall yet slowly laid its shine on the bay leaves and hydrangea flowers…” 4 likes
“When you’re old nobody touches you nobody listens to you—not in this bloody that’s what I do. I touch and I listen.” 4 likes
More quotes…