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A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian


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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.

 

RRP: £12.99, <a href ="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/spring2005.asp?CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank">The Book Pl@ce</a> Price: £9.74

Just click on book jacket

<A HREF="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/display.asp?ISB=0670915602&CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank">

<IMG SRC="http://213.253.134.29/jackets/m/067/0670915602.jpg"></A>

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  • 3 weeks later...

Have just started reading this and very much enjoying it. For me the author writes about her Ukrainian parents with a good mix of irony and pathos. The rivalry between the two sisters is so true to life as to be uncomfortable. So far I haven't read enough for the plot to have developed very far but this book is easy to read and unusual so I would recommend it. If anyone is worried about buying it in hardcover Amazon are selling it for £7.99.

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I'm sure you know this, BrumB, but for those who don't, this book is the latest choice for the BGO Book Group. It has its own forum, which you can find among the other Book Group forums just above Anything But Books.

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  • 1 year later...

I am sure we had a discussion about this later. I read this novel with my book club last year. I think I remember most of us liking it. I thought there were a lot of topics in this story that you can talk about, immigration, sibling rivalry, generation conflict, cold war, jealosy, sociology.

But there was one thing none of us agreed with. The story was described as being funny, we just didn't get that.

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Rescued Thread:

#2

25th April 2005, 03:30 PM

jebbie74

Founder Member

Join Date: Dec 2004

Location: Toronto, Canada

Posts: 56

 

I read a quick review on this one not so long ago, which included a quick snippet from the inside. Definately sounds like it could be a great read. I'll have to wait for the softcover though, as I find hardcovers are too unwielding.

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#3

16th May 2005, 08:27 PM

BridgetM

Founder Member

 

Join Date: Dec 2004

Location: West Midlands

Posts: 371

 

Have just started reading this and very much enjoying it. For me the author writes about her Ukrainian parents with a good mix of irony and pathos. The rivalry between the two sisters is so true to life as to be uncomfortable. So far I haven't read enough for the plot to have developed very far but this book is easy to read and unusual so I would recommend it. If anyone is worried about buying it in hardcover Amazon are selling it for £7.99.

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#4

17th May 2005, 12:12 AM

Bill

Admin

Join Date: Nov 2004

Location: South of the river (by a few feet)

Posts: 1,757

 

I'm sure you know this, BrumB, but for those who don't, this book is the latest choice for the BGO Book Group. It has its own forum, which you can find among the other Book Group forums just above Anything But Books.

Reply With Quote

---------------------------------------

#5

17th May 2005, 08:31 AM

BridgetM

Founder Member

Join Date: Dec 2004

Location: West Midlands

Posts: 371

 

Thanks Bill, I did know that but I wanted to point out that hardbacks aren't necessarily more expensive than paperbacks - still cost a lot though if you are a book buying addict like me.

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#6

3rd April 2006, 02:17 PM

MissRibena

Member

Join Date: Apr 2005

Location: Ireland

Posts: 67

 

This novel was covered as part of the reading group, which I wasn't around to take part in unfortunately. However, I read this book recently and really enjoyed it. My boyfriend hails from just inside Romania's border with the Ukraine and having heard so many horror stories of his ex-girlfriend who shares Valentina's name, I couldn't resist a chance to chuckle behind her back.

 

Immediately after setting the book down, I was convinced it was something special. I loved the way the father's history of tractors was used to map the history of the Ukraine. I think the relationship between the father and his deceased and more recent wives also represented the Ukraine's relationship with communism and captialism. I didn't feel that the relationship between the two sisters was properly explored and that the human interest side possibly lost out to the politics in a book that was very ambitiously attempting to cover so much in a relatively short book while keeping us chuckling.

 

On the whole, I think Lewyca pulls it off. However, it dawned on me that the use of tractors as a metaphor for the industrialisation of food production and the urbanisation of smallholders has been done before very comprehensively. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck uses the tractor to outline the Joad's family movement off the land and to symbolise the impact of massive widespread economic changes on an individual family. Realising that the tractor imagery is borrowed made me reappraise my feelings about this book but I'd still recommend it.

 

Rebecca

Last edited by MissRibena : 4th April 2006 at 11:46 AM.

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#7

14th September 2006, 11:31 AM

Caroley

Member

Join Date: Sep 2006

Location: Berkshire

Posts: 23

Best Book I've Read This Year!

I absolutley adored this book. Funny, witty, sensitive, descriptive. For me it had everything.

 

Only joined the site yesterday so please forgive if I'm not doing things correctly! I hope this post is ok!

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#8

14th September 2006, 09:25 PM

yorkshire rose

Member

Join Date: Aug 2006

Location: cornwall

Posts: 63

 

I loved this too and the title attracted me rather than put me off. I read it for my book group here in Cornwall (8 women + one book +several bottles of wine, once a month) We all really enjoyed it. If I remember rightly it was the wonderfully light way that she tackled very serious topics that we most admired. I only wonder because the story was so obviously drawn from her life whether she's a 'onebookwonder'

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#9

14th September 2006, 09:46 PM

Caroley

Member

Join Date: Sep 2006

Location: Berkshire

Posts: 23

 

So many people have mentioned this book's strange title!! I read in one of its reviews somewhere that the publishers put Lewyca under a lot of pressue to change it but she was adamant that the title remained unchanged.

 

Having a Polish father there was so much of the book that i could relate to and I insisted that my sister read it. The first thing she said when I mentioned the title was that it sounded an odd one!! She thoroughly enjoyed it as well though!!

 

Edit: The BGO Bookgroup discussion can be found here

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