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Various Pets Alive and Dead

by Marina Lewycka

Book Club Recommendations Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Family Drama Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on Various Pets Alive and Dead

March 2013 Book of the Month.

A wonderful book full of political and social comment along with some brilliant characters and an impressive portrayal of the global financial crisis. Add her normal wit and a smattering of the unexpected and you have a major success.


And for those of you who enjoyed A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Marina Lewycka has returned to the characters in that book with a hilarious erotic twist in A Shorter History of Tractors in Ukrainian with Handcuffs, available to download in eBook format. Click here to find out more.

Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Sarah Broadhurst

Various Pets Alive and Dead Synopsis

Lentils, free love, radical politics and family truths... Various Pets Alive and Dead is the wonderfully funny fourth novel from Marina Lewycka, author of the bestselling A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian . For twenty years Doro and Marcus lived in a commune, convinced lentils and free love would change the world. They didn't. What they did do was give their children a terror of radicalism, dirt, cooking rotas and poverty. Their daughter Clara wants nothing less conformist than her own, clean bathroom. Their son Serge hides the awkward fact that he's a banker earning loadsamoney. So when Doro and Marcus spring a surprise on their kids - just as the world is rocked in ways they always wished for - the family is forced to confront some thorny truths about themselves...

Various Pets Alive and Dead Press Reviews

'Wonderfully funny ... a dizzy, eye-watering treat ... Lewycka is somewhere between Hilary Mantel in her satirical mode and Sue Townsend' Independent


'Thank heavens for Marina Lewycka whose Various Pets Alive and Dead me laugh at least once in every chapter ... The warmth of its tone, its zest, its blend of quirky, humane comedy and intellectual seriousness make this a novel to treasure' New Statesman


'Not many authors could successfully mix lentils, bra-burning and free love with city traders, quantitative analysts and the mathematical calculations that supposedly make naked short selling, CDOs and subprime mortgages infallible. But Marina Lewycka is an exception ... Never has reading about something serious been quite so much fun' Economist


'Lewycka treats her characters with real affection and combines the big themes and acutely-observed details with characteristic lightness of touch' Daily Mail


'An astute and hilarious take on modern values Stylist Lewycka displays a similar mix of astringent humour and worldly humanism in her fourth novel as she did in her acclaimed debut ... a funny, farcical novel' Metro


'[Lewycka is] a warm and humane writer ... most affecting' Sunday Telegraph


'An affectionate picture of a free-thinking, beatnik lifestyle now regarded as batty, but which was underpinned by a real desire to change the world. We could all do with a bit more of that' The Herald


'Lewycka is a warm and humane writer' Guardian


'Marina Lewycka's latest novel is wonderfully funny with moments of pure farce in the best tradition of social satire ... this inventive and witty book fizzes along from beginning to end' Daily Express


'Lewycka is not only witty but astute ... it is a charming, beautifully observed novel, and those who label Lewycka a merely whimsical or quirky comic writer woefully underestimate her abilities' Independent on Sunday

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780141044941
Publication date: 28/02/2013
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781905490912
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Publisher: Fig Tree an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780141044941
Publication date: 28th February 2013
Author: Marina Lewycka
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Marina Lewycka

Marina Lewycka was born in Kiel, Germany, after the war, grew up in England and lives in Sheffield. Her first novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, longlisted for the Man Booker and won the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction and the Waverton Good Read Award. Her second novel, Two Caravans, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans and Marina's third novel, We Are All Made of Glue, are all available in Penguin. Author photo © Ben McMillan

More About Marina Lewycka

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