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2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

by

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Cover

ISBN13: 9781594200441
ISBN10: 1594200440
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 2 left in stock at $6.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A wise, tender, deeply funny novel about an eccentric elderly Ukrainian widower in England and the struggles of his two feuding daughters to thwart the voluptuous young gold-digger from the old country who sweeps him off his feet.

When their recently widowed father announces that he plans to remarry, sisters Vera and Nadezhda realize that they must learn to put aside a lifetime of bitter rivalry in order to save him. The new woman in his life is Valentina, a voluptuous gold-digger from Ukraine, fifty years his junior, with fabulous breasts and a proclivity for green satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, who will stop at nothing in her single-minded pursuit of the luxurious Western lifestyle she dreams of. But separating their addled and annoyingly lecherous dad from his new love will prove to be no easy feat — in terms of sheer cold-eyed ruthlessness, the two sisters swiftly realize that they are rank amateurs. As Hurricane Valentina turns the old family house upside down, all the old secrets come falling out, including the most deeply buried one of them all, from the war, the one that explains much about why Nadezhda 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 and its role in human progress, giving due credit to the crucial Ukrainian contribution. The story carries us back to prerevolutionary Ukraine, through wartime Germany, to contemporary England, taking in love and suffering, tanks and tractors, bitchiness, sibling rivalry, and, above all, the joys of growing old disgracefully.

A funny, enchanting novel about the belated healing of old family wounds under the most unlikely of circumstances and the trials and consolations of old age, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian manages both to transport us somewhere entirely fresh and to echo what we ourselves know in our hearts about how families work (and don't). Written with great and well-earned wit, empathy and grace, it is a debut worthy of full-throated celebration.

Review:

"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. Agent, Bill Hamilton. (Mar. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is a mischievous and smart book, casting a penetrating eye on the human predicament....[N]othing in Lewycka is self-indulgent....[A] breathtaking debut, one of a kind." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"The narrator's voice carries us along for a ride that, despite the bumps and curves in the road, never feels anything less than jaunty. While the plot drives the story in zany circles, an intriguing lesson drawn from the tragedies of the past emerges." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"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." Booklist

Review:

"Not enough here to reinvigorate an old, old story." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

This wise, tender, deeply funny novel is about an eccentric elderly Ukrainian widower in England and the struggles of his two feuding daughters to thwart the voluptuous young gold-digger from the old country who sweeps him off his feet.

Synopsis:

With this wise, tender, and deeply funny novel, Marina Lewycka takes her place alongside Zadie Smith and Monica Ali as a writer who can capture the unchanging verities of family. When an elderly and newly widowed Ukrainian immigrant announces his intention to remarry, his daughters must set aside their longtime feud to thwart him. For their father’s intended is a voluptuous old-country gold digger with a proclivity for green satin underwear and an appetite for the good life of the West. As the hostilities mount and family secrets spill out, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian combines sex, bitchiness, wit, and genuine warmth in its celebration of the pleasure of growing old disgracefully.

About the Author

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 teaches at Sheffield Hallam University. She is married, with a grown-up daughter, and lives in Sheffield.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

gregorka, September 25, 2007 (view all comments by gregorka)
Ok. With such great reviews I expected more.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Laurie Blum, November 21, 2006 (view all comments by Laurie Blum)
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is set in Peterborough, where 84-year old Ukranian immigrant Nikolai Mayevskyj announces to his daughters that he's in love and will remarry. The object of his affection is Valentina, a 36-year old old Ukranian woman with a visa about to expire and a pair of marvelous breasts. She's determined to use Nikolai to achieve the Western lifestyle she's assured she deserves, and he's willing to let her while he works on his book about the history of tractors. Meanwhile, his daughters, although tres` different in outlook rivals, band together to thwart Valentina's ambitions. Valentina's turns their family home inside out, plenty of tumult, digging up old family secrets in the process. It's a battle of wills with all the participants shaped by their own pasts through recent Eastern European history. Author Lewycka's novel is a comic look at family bonds & Western lifestyles. Much more happens but the plot is really a vehicle for social satire, some good jokes & an overdose of slapstick. It adds up to a unique, touching family saga with lots of discussable issues for book review groups. A PERFECT HOLIDAY READ & GIFT GIVING SUGGESTION!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
kshaffner, November 17, 2006 (view all comments by kshaffner)
A recent houseguest left a copy of this book upon his departure, and because I tend to judge books by their covers (not to mention their titles), I hesitated to give it a shot. Luckily, I had nothing else to read and I picked it up anyway. I only had to read a few pages to realize that I was in for a treat. The story of a Ukrainian widower who takes up with a scheming younger woman, despite his squabbling daughters' warnings and protests, is interspersed with yes, a short history of tractors (no, not in Ukrainian). Lewycka elicits compassion for even the minor characters without falling victim to sentimentality in what ends up being a genuinely funny novel--an impressive feat considering the inauspicious title.
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(10 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594200441
Author:
Lewycka, Marina
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Young women
Subject:
Sisters
Subject:
Historical
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20060328
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.32x6.36x1.02 in. 1.20 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594200441 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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. Agent, Bill Hamilton. (Mar. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is a mischievous and smart book, casting a penetrating eye on the human predicament....[N]othing in Lewycka is self-indulgent....[A] breathtaking debut, one of a kind."
"Review" by , "The narrator's voice carries us along for a ride that, despite the bumps and curves in the road, never feels anything less than jaunty. While the plot drives the story in zany circles, an intriguing lesson drawn from the tragedies of the past emerges."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Not enough here to reinvigorate an old, old story."
"Synopsis" by , This wise, tender, deeply funny novel is about an eccentric elderly Ukrainian widower in England and the struggles of his two feuding daughters to thwart the voluptuous young gold-digger from the old country who sweeps him off his feet.
"Synopsis" by ,

With this wise, tender, and deeply funny novel, Marina Lewycka takes her place alongside Zadie Smith and Monica Ali as a writer who can capture the unchanging verities of family. When an elderly and newly widowed Ukrainian immigrant announces his intention to remarry, his daughters must set aside their longtime feud to thwart him. For their father’s intended is a voluptuous old-country gold digger with a proclivity for green satin underwear and an appetite for the good life of the West. As the hostilities mount and family secrets spill out, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian combines sex, bitchiness, wit, and genuine warmth in its celebration of the pleasure of growing old disgracefully.

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