Christa Seeley's Reviews > A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
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's review
Jan 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books, 2011, comedy
Recommended for: People who aren't looking for anything too serious
Read from February 02 to 05, 2011 — I own a copy

I picked this book up at a used book store, drawn in by it's unique title and remembering that it had made it on to one of the editions of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. I found it incredibly funny, somewhat informative and at times a little tragic. Way more than I was expecting for a $4 paperback.
The story follows a British-Ukrainian family during a time of family crisis. The crisis being that the father has decided to marry a much younger Ukrainian woman, who is clearly using him for money and a passport. His two daughters than join forces to save him from his unhappy fate. What made this book for me was the father, and his interactions with his youngest daughter Nadezhda. The father is quirky, old fashioned and conflicted. I can picture him perfectly in my mind. I can even hear his Ukrainian accent when I'm reading his dialogue. His antics are funny all of their own, but are made even funnier by his daughter's attempts to help a very stubborn old man. You can't help but love the father, he's the product of his history, his age and his daughters and he fulfils his role perfectly.
In case you were thinking this book was a little too light hearted and fluffy, it is interspersed with memories of the families time living in the Soviet Union. Before moving to Britain the family did not have it easy, facing famine, work camps and the wrath of communism. These are serious undertones to a very funny book. I found them particularly interesting, as Ukrainian history is not one you generally hear about.
Overall a nice book. It's funny, not too long and you learn a bit about the Ukraine at the same time.

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Reading Progress

02/02/2011 page 74
23.0% "So far I'm liking it! It's funny and quaint."
02/02/2011 page 138
42.0% "Love the father!"

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