A short bit from the book...
Can we blame them?
Taken from 'How To Marry A Russian Bride', pp.s 408-410
"Dave moves off again, this time along the Lower Addiscombe Road. He sees kebab shops staffed by dark-looking men cutting slices off giant conical spits of meat. There are estate agents, betting shops and Spar corner stores. And as Dave sees those community-sized supermarkets he thinks of Moscow, and the community-sized stores he saw there: almost identical, where he did his shopping, and where the vast majority of Muscovites buy their weekly groceries.
And Dave thinks of Moscow - that giant wasteland of system-built high-rise blocks of flats, now old and declining. And how can you blame Russian women, he wonders, for wanting to get out of that? How can you blame anyone for wanting to get away from a ten-hour day at the Ministry of Finance and then a metro ride and a neck-snapping journey on a howling bus back to your tenement at the end of a cracked and filthy access road? Can you blame them? These women who wanted to trade all that for the fresh air of Brighton's grand promenade? Where you can sit on the beach or stroll along the sea front and have an ice cream on the pier?
And who are we to say they're wrong? ponders Dave. We're not there in Moscow looking for a way out. We're here in comfortable Britain, the land of private space. We've got those passports with the lion and the unicorn on the front, those dinky little passports that say we're British, so that we get waived through at every country we go to, as though we're visiting VIPs. We're not put through the wringer and plied with questions the way they are, when they want to come to our country.
And all they really wanted was to be like us - to have the right to stay here, to have indefinite leave to remain, just like we have. No. You can't blame them at all. It's just a terrible shame about the men they leave behind.
But then again without those English husbands none of this would have been possible, would it? For these English men are an integral part of the deal, unwitting sacrificial pawns in this subtle game of chess. Maybe that's why these Russian women make it so good for their husbands in bed - because they know those two years are all they're ever going to get.
And Dave thinks of these Russian women - with the brains and determination to get out, to find a better life. And he senses something else about them: that you can have great sex with them but you never really get to know them. Their former lives, their previous existences remain unknown to you; a black box into which you cannot see and about which they never speak. For Russian women - or at least the kind of Russian woman who comes to England - never lets you see what is going on inside their head; they give no clues as to what they are really thinking, however long you know them or live with them - as so many of the characters in this story have found to their cost. "