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Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian Hardcover – Mar 15 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press (HC); 1st Edition edition (March 15 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594200440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594200441
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 549 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #647,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The premise of Lewycka's debut novel is classic Viagra comedy: a middle-aged professor's aging and widowed father announces he intends to marry a blonde, big-breasted 30-something woman he has met at the local Ukrainian Social Club in the English town where he lives, north of London. It is clear to Nadezhda and her sister, Vera, that the femme fatale Valentina is only after Western luxuries—certainly not genuine love of any kind. Smitten with the ambitious hussy, their father forges ahead to help Valentina settle in England, spending what little pension he has buying her cars and household appliances and even financing her cosmetic surgery. In the meantime, Nadezhda, a socialist, and Vera, a proud capitalist, confront the longstanding ill will between them as they try to save their father from his folly. Predictable and sometimes repetitive hilarity ensues. But then Lewycka's comic narrative changes tone. Nadezhda, who has never known much about her parents' history, pieces it together with her sister and learns that there is more to her cartoonish father than she once believed. "I had thought this story was going to be a knockabout farce, but now I see it is developing into a knockabout tragedy," Nadezhda says at one point, and though she is referring to Valentina, she might also be describing this unusual and poignant novel.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Vera and Nadezhda have not spoken to one another since their mother's funeral two years ago. But the news that their eccentric 83-year-old father, Nikolai, wants to marry a 36-year-old woman from Ukraine so that she can stay in England causes them to work past their differences to save the old man from himself. Despite their efforts, Valentina moves in with Nikolai and begins to demand the good life the West is supposed to provide her, from a "civilized person's Hoover" and a "not-peasant-cooking" stove to a Rolls-Royce. As Valentina's demands become more ridiculous, the sisters band closer together to get her out, while Nikolai begins his laborious work on the history of the tractor and its effect on society. While the sisters and Valentina spar, Nadezhda struggles to put together the pieces of her family's past in Ukraine and Germany during World War II. Drawing on her own family, Lewycka has created a funny, tender, and intelligent novel that is as much social history as family saga. It is a delight. Elizabeth Dickie
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blond Ukrainian divorcee. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kona TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 30 2007
Format: Paperback
In this unusual novel set in the English countryside, Nadia narrates the story of her father, 84-year old Ukrainian engineer Nicholai, who is about to marry 36-year old Valentina, also a Ukrainian. The old man is crazy in love with the busty blonde, while she only has eyes for English citizenship papers. Nadia and her estranged sister Vera frantically try to help their confused, lonely father get out of this marriage to his cruel and promiscuous bride, while he doggedly writes his magnum opus, a history of tractors, in Ukrainian.

Valentina is a brutish cow of a woman who has men lining up for her attentions; she quickly makes Pappa's life unbearable. Nadia, ten years younger than her sister, grew up knowing nothing of their parents' lives in Ukraine; little by little she gets Vera to talk about what her parents - and she - went through under Russian and German rule. These reminiscences were so horrific, so pitiable, I read with tears in my eyes, yet I was glad to see light shed on this grim chapter of history.

This is a quick read, an odd combination of wry family humor and grand tragedy; I would not call it a comedy by any means. Recommended for those who like stories about families whose members don't always see eye-to-eye, and for those who would like to learn about the Ukrainian experience in the 20th century.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Smith on July 4 2006
Format: Paperback
What particularly struck me about this book was the beginning of the opening chapter. Reading it further captivated me and the end of the book proved that it is an amazing story. A story in a story, A SHORT HISTORY OF TRACTORS IN UKRAINIAN captured the depth of characterization that produced an amazing octogenarian in love with a woman in her prime, a born survivor who is determined to make use of any advantage to secure a better future for her son; and the pragmatism of two conflicting sisters who are determined to 'rescue' their father. Enlightening, hilarious, gracious, gave and tender in turns, this fascinating story gives us an insightful view of the lives of those trying to make a new life as refugees or exiles.

I would recommend this book to any lover of good literary works. There are many lessons to learn from this book. In different ways we find that too in THE UNION MOUJIK, WAR AND PEACE,THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES, OUR KIND.I enjoyed reading this book, so if you are undecided , my advise is that pick it up and do some reading that you will remember after
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Catalano on June 21 2007
Format: Paperback
I can't decide whether I liked the history of the family, the development of the relationship between the two sisters or the advertised story of the octogenarian father and his relationship with the woman trying to take advantage with him. All were very well done but I found it a little hard to keep jumping from different story line to different story line in this short book. However, it is definitely a book I would pass on to others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marsha S on July 2 2007
Format: Paperback
This is one of my all-time favourite novels. I love how the way the father's tone about the tractors changes depending on how he feels about the women in his life. Everything about this story is oh so true yet hilarious. I can hardly wait to get my hands on Strawberry Fields.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Etobicoke Book Clubbette on Aug. 16 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A funny, engaging novel right from the start! Honestly, I couldn't put it down. The author is so adept at writing that she managed to weave the 3 plot lines seamlessly while creating fully dimensional characters that I felt that I knew. She creates empathy for the elderly, the "sandwich generation", the victims of war, and the residence of small communities. I will be reading more of her books!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Croydon Ruth on Dec 11 2011
Format: Paperback
I sent a copy of this book to one of my sisters, as she and my other sister are similar ages to the two sisters in this novel. However, I mostly sent it because it had kept me laughing for days, and I thought it would have the same effect on both my sisters - and anyone who read it. A friend had lent me her copy, which I've now passed on to another friend. This is truly A Good Read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the story confusing and quite unbelievable just wasted by time reading it. Even my friends wouldn't accept to read it.
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