[Review] A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

Title: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Author: Marina Lewycka
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Subject: Children of Immigrants, Ukrainians - Great Britain, Sisters, Fathers and Daughters
Page: 324 pages
First Published: 2005

“Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukrainian divorcee. He was eighty-four and  she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.” 
(Para 1: Page 1)

After a series of historical fictions, I decided to take a break and grab this light read for a change. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian pulls me in from the very first line. And not to mention the quirky and unique title.

The story is narrated by Nadezhda or Nadia, who together with her elder sister Vera – despite their two-year row about an inheritance of their mother – schemes a plan to oust the gold-digger Valentina from ripping their poor and hopeless father off his pension money in order to pursuit Western wealth (“Valentina is demanding a new car … Must be Mercedes or Jaguar at least. BMW is OK. No Ford please.”)

I find this book quite enjoyable with its often funny lines and even funnier characters. They come alive. But I have issues with the theme itself – the lovesick and pervert old man, the gold-digger beautiful woman and the bickering sisters – that after a while they became annoying and certainly not funny anymore. And I can’t wait to finish so that I could read a more worthy book.


Nadea Ruzmen said…
Hi, I just chose you as one of the recipients of Seven Facts Award. Hope you will accept it. http://candychapstick.blogspot.com/2011/02/seven-facts-award.html
Oh, that's a shame. I bought this book a while back because my sister recommended it to me but haven't read it yet. I don't think it'll be high on my to-read list now.
Sam: I enjoyed it at first but it sort of subsided halfway through. But still readable, though.