Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian : A Novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian : A Novel by Marina Lewycka

My review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the first 100 pages and the last 100 pages. Buuuut, the middle 100 pages notsomuch.

The novel is set in northern England and follows an 80-something naturalized Ukrainian widower who wants to marry a 30-something buxom Ukrainian in need of a visa. The story is narrated by the younger of the two daughters of the widower as she tries to uncover the secret past her family has never shared with her as they escaped the Russians during World War II while at the same time saving her father from this 30-something woman.

It was a fast-paced novel and I read it quickly. It was somewhat amusing, and having lived in England I loved the references to Oxfam and Tesco. I even enjoyed the tractor history and war history that was integrated into the story. However, I'm not very tolerant of verbal and physical abuse of anyone, let alone the elderly. Hence, my problem with the middle 100 pages.

They also reviewed it: Corinne and Bethany and Trixie


bethany said...

I know what you are talking about the abuse was very hard to read, but at the same time I see why they author did that. I think there were two reasons, the first that she wanted the readers to see that there was a serious problem,and that he needed out, and that he was being helpless on his own since he wanted companionship-almost enough to not care who gave it to him! The second being that it creates the intensity to have the book gain force for the ending and to carry it through with strength. That is just my take. I do agree that it was hard to read, as in emotionally but I see a purpose, I think it was intended as his and our wake-up call. I do agree though that I would have enjoyed way more about the Ukrainian aspect of all of them, I wanted old fashioned detailed explanations..and you are right that they were not really there.

I love your review, great work!! This is fun to read books with people, then you can actually talk about the same books versus always talking about my books that I have read. YAY!! I can't wait for the next read!

Kelly said...

What a great review and upon reading I realise that this is exactly what I had been thinking but couldn't put into words! I loved the story and some of the characters wrenched at my heart but there was some uncomfortable reading, even with the comedy!

Jessica said...

Great review. I never would have picked this book up based on the title, but it sounds like an interesting read.