Life According to Lubka, By Laurie Graham
Sunday 21 March 2010
I'm slightly uncomfortable with a novel that depends for much of its humour on the linguistic faux pas of those who don't speak English well. The fact that this humour is relayed through the faulty personality of the control-freakish music PR consultant Beryl "Buzz" Wexler, whose own command of English is limited to swear words and sarcastic comments, doesn't really let it off the hook.
Buzz is obliged to look after a group of Bulgarian singers called the Gorni Grannies, who have never left their home country before and who, because they are old and foreign and from the countryside, find glitzy hotels the most perplexing places, where they run the taps on and off and demand to know how much the TV costs when they find out that the shampoo is free. (How hilarious; how patronising). Buzz is portrayed as a classically cold career woman, whose lack of fellow feeling stems, it transpires, from a sense that she wasn't wanted as a child. Sure enough, time spent in the company of the earthy grannies (who also happen to have connections to East European mafia members – is there a cliché left out here?) has her reassessing her priorities.
tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
EastEnders Christmas Day special, TV review: It's all about the Carters this Christmas - and Danny Dyer is brilliant
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Doctor Who: Jenna Coleman to stay on as Peter Capaldi’s assistant Clara Oswald in next series
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader