Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka


I had the paperback edition of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka in my 'to be read' pile for roughly 7.5 years before I finally read this novel last month. I don't remember how I first came across this novel, but the title certainly captured my attention. The storyline sounded interesting, so I decided to read A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is the first novel written by British author, Marina Lewycka. I learned from Wikipedia that A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian has won or been nominated for the following awards:
The novel won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at the Hay literary festival, the Waverton Good Read Award 2005/6, and was short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, losing to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin. Over a million copies have been sold in the UK.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian started off really well! I felt captivated by the story, the writing, the humor, and the characters. Things seemed to grow a bit stagnant for me about a third of the way into this novel as the storyline didn't seem to be progressing and felt stuck in a rut before picking up again at about the halfway mark. 

There were many different aspects in this novel that made for interesting reading. Take two estranged sisters, Vera and Nadezhda, that reconnect in an effort to protect/save their elderly, widowed father from a young, sexy, gold digging woman after their father's money and also for her chance to become a British citizen though marriage for both herself and her son. 

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka also touches upon life in Ukraine during the cold war for not only Vera and Nadezhda's parents, but also for Vera as well. Nadezhda is not born until after the family leaves Ukraine. The immigration experience is touched upon as well in this novel.

Dysfunctional family life, family idiosyncrasies, and family secrets also seem to be themes within A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian as well.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka is definitely a multilayered novel. There's so much more going on within its pages than I've shared within my review. I almost wish that I had a book group to discuss this book with other readers.

Below is the plot summary for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka from Goodreads:
"In this comic first novel, two estranged sisters living in England discover that their addled elderly father, a Ukrainian war refugee and expert on tractors, is planning to marry a young, enormous-breasted woman who sees his modest pension as her ticket to capitalist comfort. The sisters put aside their differences, and embark on a spirited campaign to save him from boil-in-the-bag dinners, slovenly housekeeping, and such extravagant purchases as a broken-down Rolls-Royce. In the midst of these machinations—which include long-winded letters to solicitors, venomous gossip, and all-out spying—Lewycka stealthily reveals how the depredations of the past century dictate what a family can bear."
I am giving A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

4 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this writer but I would read it for that fascinating title alone!

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  2. I have had this one on my TBR for almost as long. I still want to read it. Good review!

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    1. Thank you for the post. I hope you read this novel soon.

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