How splendid to come across a contemporary novel that falls effortlessly into the categories of 'couldn't put down' and 'must tell others'.
Lev is a fortyish semi-skilled worker who, like thousands of others, rides the long-distance bus from his native eastern Europe. He arrives at Victoria Coach Station, with a suitcase, a few pounds and a yearning to better himself and his family.
Lev, still grieving following his wife's death from cancer, has left his daughter and mother in his unnamed homeland.
A lesser writer might have been content with creating a sort of 'Every-migrant' figure. Lev is much more than that - complex, troubled, stubborn, determined.
What follows is an unsentimental account of life at the ragged edges of today's Britain. Little victories, crushing setbacks, until Lev lands a job washing dishes in an up-and-coming restaurant.
Tremain has done her homework about the catering industry - the knife-edge margin between success and failure, the feverish intensity of work in a high-end kitchen, the heartless competitiveness, the occasional moments of grace and generosity.
If a mark of a good novel is that it changes how you think about other people, then The Road Home is a definite success.