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Liesl SchillingerJourneys like Lev's are very much a part of Britain's present reality, with discussion of the Eastern European invasion appearing all over. But Tremain elevates the subject beyond its outlines by making Lev not a statistic or a caricature or the standard-bearer of a trend but simply a man—fully embodied, his ignoble and noble acts presented without exaggeration, without excessive praise or condemnation…A less disciplined and agile author might have been tempted to ease Lev's transition from daydreamer to doer. Or she might have jollied Lev into a toque at London's River Café and set Rudi up as a chauffeur on Belisha Road. But Rose Tremain is in the business of inventing not so much fantasies as alternate realities.
—The New York Times