Book Review: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

The blurb: ‘Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamourous blonde Ukrainian divorcee. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.’

Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must put aside a lifetime of feuding to save their émigré engineer father from voluptuous gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for green satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, she will stop at nothing in her pursuit of Western wealth.

But the sisters’ campaign to oust Valentina unearths family secrets, uncovers fifty years of Europe’s darkest history and sends them back to roots they’d much rather forget…

My review: I’ve been staring at the poster for this book at my local train station for what seems like the last ten years. So when staring at the books in WHSmith’s travel before my holiday I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did.

This book is absolutely brilliant, I loved the characters from the start especially the father, papa, who’s dialect brings him so vividly to mind that it was like picturing an old friend. If you loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding then you’ll love this, it’s all about family politics, hidden secrets, rivalry and jealously and the difference in generations. I cheered the sisters along in their quest to be rid of the gold-digging Valentina, and laughed heartily at the absurdity of Toshiba apples, flippy floppy, meanie husband!

I had barely finished the last page of this book before my boyfriend grabbed it off me and read it himself, the verdict from us both, fantastic read, completely mad but excellent. I’ve already bought her next book – Two Caravans.

9.5 out of 10 stars! ********.5

BUY ME! A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian


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