It was with some trepidation that I started this book but it wasn't the first time I was wrong (hope the boyfriend isn't reading today!). I had previously had mixed reactions to Ms. Tremain's work. I had read 'The Colour' about 4 years ago and loved it. The scenery, the desire to make it rich during the Gold Rush captured my American spirit, only the book was set in New Zealand so I loved learning about the history of a new place (who doesn't? I could just imagine those accents!). So that book made me think that I had wonderfully stumbled upon a new author that I would love. I quickly went out and picked up a copy of 'Music & Silence'. This book however totally let me down. I did not root for the characters struggles like I did in 'The Colour'. I can't love a book if I don't love a main character. Lots of people can, I am sure this is some sort of character flaw, but that's a post for another day! Another trepidation? I tend to not like books wherein the main the character is male. This isn't always true, I just find I can't always relate. If the author is great then the book works for both sexes, but sometimes I find that a male character can be alienating. Much like say, a man, wouldn't necessarily run out and pick up 'Shopaholic' so like I said...trepidation.
Fear not! Lev, the heart and soul of 'The Road Home', is a character you most definitely want to root for! He is kind and wants the best for his family. He is forced to leave Russia after the sawmill he has worked in his whole life closes. His wife has passed away and he has a 5 year old daughter and a mother to care for, as well as a best friend who is almost like a mystical hero.
Lev gets on a bus and moves to London. We learn about his trials and tribulations in getting to know how to live in a vastly different city from that which he is used to, learn the language, work in a restaurant, find love again. The pace is slow, but Lev is a dreamer so it fits. The book is moving and it is a must read!
One more thing I must point out, and maybe Amazon will fix the link but the book description on Amazon says the main characters name is "Olev". Throughout the entire book Lev is frustrated with all the Brits who call him that...hehe. I love you Amazon but cut Lev a break!
Oh and if you are into these sorts of things, it won the UK's Orange Prize for fiction in 2008!
(I obtained my copy of 'The Road Home' from paperbackswap.com. 'The Colour' and 'Music & Silence' I obtained from the library.)