I was disappointed to read recently of the demise of Waterstone's 3-for-2 offers. Admittedly, perhaps it doesn't make all that much commercial sense for them if all their purchasers are like me, as I bought this in a 3-for-2 deal more than a year ago now.
I wasn't sure what to expect: the blurb doesn't give too much away, saying only that Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, and that the book chronicles his experiences of Britain. It's a rollercoaster ride for him, bereaved in early middle-age and looking to make an honest living in order to send money back to his mother and daughter. After a shaky start, Lev manages to settle, working in a restaurant kitchen and renting a room from a divorced Irishman, and the story progresses, not always predictably and with a colourful range of characters, from there. There are one or two gremlins - tubes that run on Christmas Day, doubtful geography (it's never said exactly which country Lev comes from: it seems that Romania, Bulgaria, or one of the Baltic states would be most likely, but each of the options seems to imply minor contradictions) - and there were one or two dicey passages where I wasn't sure I would continue to enjoy the book, but in the end I felt very satisfied with my choice.