Book review: The Lubetkin Legacy by Marina Lewycka

The bestselling author of A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian returns to page-turning form with this addictive tale of death, (a lack of) sex, and the London property market.

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Berthold Sidebottom is a failed actor, but at least he is in possession of a council flat via his mother’s link with its deceased famous architect, Berthold Lubetkin – that is, until Mum unexpectedly moves beyond the final curtain and he must stage the performance of his life to a peculiarly attractive (if flea-bitten) housing officer.

Meanwhile, Violet, the girl next door, dreams of ethical accountancy from her corrupt City desk. But drama unfolds as developers set their sights on the block’s cherry orchard, and Bertie and Violet must join awkward forces with a supporting cast of Ukrainians, Roma, and dodgy council staff to fend off the chainsaws.

The Lubetkin Legacy is an ode to international, multicultural London, and ultimately even the most flea-bitten come good.

Published by Fig Tree