Quite a few people did not finish this book and said they found it a real chore to read, although one said they enjoyed it. Most people who did not finish seemed to be put off by the long section at the beginning which is very descriptive explaining the bus ride they felt this was too detailled and did not allow them to use their imagination. Some said that they were surprised it was written by a woman as she made them feel as if the narrative was male. Most people did not like the main character Lev and the way he used Lydia. Some were surprised when Lydia decided to become the mistress of the old musician. Most people found the stories about Rudie annoying. Those that enjoyed the book understood the theme running through the book of surviving.
I really enjoyed this book! I like the whole person overcoming adversity. I watched Somers Town not long after finishing the book and the tale of an immigrant surviving in Britain ran parallel with the one in the book. I loved his closeted view of Britain and how different people reacted to him. In terms of reading, I thought it was similar to The Other Hand by Chris Cleave that we read at the first book club meet and it’s certainly a book that I would read again (infact I’ve just picked up a copy!)