A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka


Mark Haddon

'Hugely enjoyable ... yields a golden harvest of family truths'

Daily Telegraph



A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is one of those bizarre books which you're not sure what to make of when you first see the cover and read the title.  However, inside the cover and behind the title lies a truly wonderful book.

Whilst this book has been described by many critics as a hilarious story, I can't claim that it had me clutching my sides from start to end.  Rather, the plot is quite sad as it tells of an elderly Ukrainian gentleman (Kolya) living in Peterborough who announces to his daughters he is going to marry a young Ukrainian woman called Valentina.  The story, told from the perspective of Kolya's daughter Nadia,
 takes us from before the marriage and through the twists and turns of the year after they tie-the-knot.  Inter-twined with the day-to-days tales of Valentina and Kolya's crazy antics, Nadia tells the story of how her family came to live in England and the hardships they endured in the Ukraine.

Although fiction, the plot gives a genuine impression of the life of an immigrant family who fled to England to escape persecution.  However, it would be impossible to say that the story did not provoke a few chuckles.  The bizarre behaviour of all of the characters is strangely familiar to that of any family and there is one particular moment involving a dictaphone which had me laughing away!  This book is extremely easy to read and a delightful way to pass the time.  I would recommend it to everyone.



Reviewed on 19/09/2006 by Angela


Reviewed item details

ISBN: 0141020520 

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