Saturday, 27 February 2010

Marina Lewycka

Great excitement at London Acres. I've just learned Marina Lewycka's third novel, 'We Are All Made Of Glue', has been released in paperback. This means I can afford to buy it.

Lewycka is an inspiration. Her first book was rejected thirty-six times b
efore she finally found a publisher at the age of fifty-eight. Now, her novel, 'A Short History of Tractors in Unkrainian', is a world-wide hit. She's the daughter of two Ukrainians, and 'Tractors' draws heavily on her life - conflict with her sister; the loss of her mother; an eccentric, selectively senile engineer father who married again to a much younger woman; and his daughter's schemes to oust the gold-digging interloper. Serious themes, but treated in a comic, at times slapstick way. Life is hell, but hellishly funny.

As a mature student Lewycka (pronounced Lewitzka) did a creative writing course, and never looked back. Her second novel, 'Two Caravans', has the same blend of comedy and desperation as her first, and is an indictment of imigrant labour exploitation. Both books have been tremendously well-received. I love them.

I went to listen to Marina while sh
e was promoting 'Two Caravans'; she gave a talk at a local library. A funny, vibrant lady, candid about herself, her writing and her family. I'd taken a copy of 'Two Caravans' with me which I asked her to sign, explaining that I was just about to start a writing course myself; another mature student off to have a go. We beamed at each other; she raised her eyebrows, I struck a faux literary pose, she kindly wrote her good-luck message.

Tonight, I'll settle down with 'We Are All Made Of Glue'. There it is, pristine on my tabletop. I'll savour it.

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