A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian : Winner of the Saga Award for Wit 2005 and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2005. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize, longlisted for the Booker Prize 2005

3.38 (22,335 ratings by Goodreads)
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For years, Nadezhda and Vera, two Ukrainian sisters, raised in England by their refugee parents, have had as little as possible to do with each other - and they have their reasons. But now they find they'd better learn how to get along, because since their mother's death their aging father has been sliding into his second childhood, and an alarming new woman has just entered his life. Valentina, a bosomy young synthetic blonde from the Ukraine, seems to think their father is much richer than he is, and she is keen that he leave this world with as little money to his name as possible. If Nadazhda and Vera don't stop her, no one will. But separating their addled and annoyingly lecherous dad from his new love will prove to be no easy feat - Valentina is a ruthless pro and the two sisters swiftly realize that they are mere amateurs when it comes to ruthlessness. As Hurricane Valentina turns the family house upside down, old secrets come falling out, including the most deeply buried one of them all, from the War, the one that explains much about why Nadazhda and Vera are so different. In the meantime, oblivious to it all, their father carries on with the great work of his dotage, a grand history of the tractor.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 112 x 180 x 21mm | 181.43g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 014102576X
  • 9780141025766
  • 90,613

Review Text

It's rare to find a first novel that gets so much right . . . Lewycka is a seriously talented comic writer
Time Out
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Review quote

It's rare to find a first novel that gets so much right . . . Lewycka is a seriously talented comic writer * Time Out * More than just a jolly romp with political undertones is the way it captures the peculiar flavour of Eastern European immigrant life . . . a very rich mixture indeed, as well as very enjoyable reading * Daily Express * Funny, gritty, original ... one I adore * Independent * Remarkable, a lovely novel * Sunday Telegraph * An extraordinary read . . . nothing short of amazing. A rare treat, all too easy to gulp down in one greedy sitting * Spectator * Outstanding * Literary Review * Extremely funny * The Times * Intelligent, lively, well written and compassionate * Financial Times * Ploughs a rich comic furrow * Daily Telegraph * A clever, touching story * Economist * Mad and hilarious * Grazia * Hilarious * The Times * A delightful first novel . . . an understanding of history, a profundity, and yet a lightness of touch, that are a joy... funny and touching * The Daily Mail * Hugely enjoyable . . . yields a golden harvest of family truths * The Times * Memorably inventive, unexpectedly moving * Daily Telegraph * Wit, humour, sparkling dialogue, vivid characterization and generous spirit. Food for thought and a great read * Daily Mail * Enthralling * Sunday Times * Thought-provoking, uproariously funny, a comic feast. A riotous oil painting of senility, lust and greed * TLS *
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About Marina Lewycka

Marina Lewycka was born of Ukrainian parents in a refugee camp in Kiel, Germany, at the end of the war, and grew up in England. She is married, with a grown-up daughter, and lives in Sheffield.
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Rating details

22,335 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 12% (2,681)
4 35% (7,717)
3 37% (8,228)
2 13% (2,841)
1 4% (868)

Our customer reviews

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is the first novel by British/Ukrainian author, Marina Lewycka. Two years after the death of his wife, Ludmilla, eighty-four year old Nikolai Mayevskyj announces to his youngest daughter, Nadezhda (Nadia) that he is going to marry Valentina, a thirty-six year old Ukrainian divorcee with a teenaged son. As Nadia tries to reason with her determined father, she realises that if she is to prevent him being fleeced by this unscrupulous (bottle-)blonde bombshell, she will need to join forces with Vera, the older sister from whom she has been estranged since they disagreed over their mother's will. In the process of trying to oust Valentina from their lives and have her deported, much of the family's history is dredged up and Nadia discovers that what she has been told as a child was not necessarily accurate. This is a rollicking ride that encompasses boil-in-the-bag suppers, an undriveable Rolls Royce, a tomcat named Lady Di, a portable photocopier, a baby of unknown paternity, yoga, sheltered housing and some green satin underwear. Nikolai's theory on the integral role of tractors in the development of Great Depression, Fascism in Germany and Communism in Russia will provide food for thought. The extracts from the book he is writing, the eponymous "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" are delightful. This book was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2005. A fun read with a happy ending.show more
by Marianne Vincent
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