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Written by the same author as "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian", and just as amusing.
Some may find this novel a little difficult to follow, as it is told by several voices, the sections are broken up, and once you realise that is how the novel is narrated, it's much better than having an omniscient narrator. First person narration can be unreliable, but as you get the other characters input this is not a problem. There's a certain "quirk" in this book, that I did wonder about at first, but once I realised what was going on, it makes for light relief at the more tense sections.
The novel tells the story of a group of migrant workers, who as the novel opens are strawberry picking in Kent, and their accommodation is two battered caravans, one for the men, one for the women. After an incident with the farmer and his wife, the workers take the farmer's Land Rover, and one of the caravans, and try to find work elsewhere. This novel gives an insight into the world of migrant workers, and gangmasters, and the organised crime that is springing up around these workers, being run by gangmasters.
The dedication at the start of the book is quite touching, "To the Morecambe Bay cockle-pickers". I wish that this had been qualified a little more, I suspect it means the Chinese who lost their lives, back in February 2004, where at least 21 lost their lives by being caught by the notorious tides. But I think the underlying dedication also refers to the language problems encountered by migrant workers. They still use migrants for cockle-picking, as it supposed to be good money, but the cockle beds are closed from time to time.
Back to the novel, none of the characters end up cockle-picking, but they do fish of a pier at one point.
If you read "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" and enjoyed it, this novel will appeal as well, there is even a brief visit to Mr Mayevskyj from "A Short History......", and he provides the same gentle humour.
For a little information about the author,,9780670916375,00.html
For further information about the novel.


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