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A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by…

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (2005)

by Marina Lewycka

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  1. 20
    Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles (norabelle414)
    norabelle414: These books could possibly be the same story from different points of view. They're both very entertaining stories, and contain just the right amount of history and culture of Ukraine.
  2. 21
    Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (BillPilgrim)

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Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
What do you get when an octogenarian is intent on wedding a buxomous, gold-digging immigrant, whose romantic intentions are clearly only for the purpose of securing residency via matrimony. Throw in a pair of feuding sisters who have to forge an alliance to deal with the trials and tribulations of an aging parent, and of a marriage gone wrong, and you have a blunt (a little crass, but not obscene), oftimes funny pow-wow that makes for a deliciously delightful read. ( )
  MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
Apa yang akan aku lakukan jika salah seorang orangtuaku berniat menikah lagi seperti Nikolai, ayah si Nadezhda? Apa yang bisa aku perbuat jika orangtua tersebut menikahi seorang yang jauh lebih muda? Apakah keadaan ini akan membuat aku lebih dekat dengan saudara kandungku?

Novel ini sederhana, bercerita tentang kegalauan Nadezhda menghadapi ayahnya yang akan menikah lagi setelah ditinggal ibunya. Dia sangat menentang niat ayahnya dan mencoba bersekutu dengan saudari kandungnya yang juga menjadi musuh besarnya sepeninggal ibunya. Calon istri ayahnya juga jauh lebih muda, dan ketika perempuan tersebut jadi pindah dari Ukraina ke rumah ayahnya di Inggris, niat busuknya tercium juga, walaupun ayahnya tetap membela istri barunya yang seksi itu.

Mengikuti suka duka Nadezhda menghadapi ayahnya yang sudah agak pikun dan bertingkah kekanak-kanakan ini cukup asyik. Cara bercerita penulis sangat kocak, membuat hal-hal pahit menjadi menggelikan. Waktu membaca ini aku jadi bertanya-tanya, apa kalau aku tua nanti aku bisa berubah seperti Nikolai?

Novel ini benar-benar membuat pembacanya bisa tertawa-tawa sendiri, tapi isinya mengenai ikatan kekeluargaan, memberi maaf kepada orang lain, dan berbakti pada orangtua, sangat universal, terutama bagi orang-orang Timur, termasuk Eropa Timur rupanya! Bedanya, orang Asia seperti Indonesia tidak akan punya sense of humor setinggi orang-orang Eropa ini.. Maybe reading this book would change our attitudes? Semoga! ( )
  pwlifter300 | Feb 12, 2014 |
Brilliant black comedy; tragic, funny, sad, lovable and unlovable characters. ( )
  siri51 | Feb 7, 2014 |
Funny, moving, engaging, intriguing — great illustration of generations and cultures (Ukrainian/English — Wartime/Peacetime) colliding ( )
  dreamingbear | Feb 6, 2014 |
I enjoyed reading Marina Lweycka's debut novel "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" even though I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable. The story itself was interesting and the characters were well-drawn so I still found it a fun read.

The story is narrated by Nadia, a Ukrainian immigrant who is not on speaking terms with her sister until their father remarries to Valentina, a much younger woman who is looking for a green card. The daughters reunite in their stand against the woman they view as a gold-digger who is destroying their father's life.

I can see why this book wasn't on the list of 1,001 books to read before you die for long. It isn't a stand-out story, though it was a good read. I would definitely read future books by this author, as I imagine her next books will be even better. ( )
  amerynth | Dec 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
This is an odd one. Two years after the death of her mother, Nadezhda Lewis’s father, Nikolai Mayevskyj, a British resident and 1945 refugee from Ukraine, takes up with Valentina, a much more recent - and much younger - Ukrainian with a young son. The book recounts the unfolding of this relationship, through marriage and subsequent divorce proceedings and the reconciliation it brings about between Nadezhda and her older sister, Vera, who had become estranged following shenanigans involving their mother’s will. Nikolai is also writing the eponymous “Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian” extracts from which are doled out throughout the book.

This is all treated in a knockabout style and the characters are well delineated. In contrast to the humorous aspects there is also Mayevskyj family backstory from Ukraine which is much more sombre. Nikolai and his wife lived through Stalin’s farm collectivisations (and famines) of the 1920s and 30s plus the German invasion of World War 2. The main thrust of the novel, though, is really about Nadezhda’s lack of intimate knowledge of this past and Vera’s insistence that things belong there, not to be dredged up.

Some infelicities: the marriage takes place in a Catholic church even though Valentina is divorced (but the priest may not know) and Peterborough (United) are playing at home but appear on the big screen on a pub TV. This latter is unlikely I would think - even if they did reach the Championship.

Lewycka makes great play of the traumatic past of the Majevskyj family but to my mind there was a whiff of “something nasty in the woodshed” about her treatment of it.

A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian is entertaining but ultimately strives for more than it delivers.
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Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blond 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 sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.
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Aus der Amazon.de-Redaktion

Das Übel trägt einen Namen: Valentina! -- Seit die vollbusige, wasserstoffblonde Ukrainerin in Vater Nikolais Leben trat, schwebt der 84-Jährige Witwer im siebten Testosteron-Himmel. Der Alte verfasst selbstgefertigte Gedichte, lässt die Wohnung vergammeln und trägt Spendierhosen in Übergröße. Lediglich die „Hydraulik“ gewisser Körperpartien bereitet ihm Kummer. Was Wunder, zählt die Angebetete gerade mal süße sechsunddreißig. Nikolais verfeindete Töchter Vera und Nadeshda (die Ich-Erzählerin des Romans), riechen den Braten der Scheinehe zum Zwecke der Einbürgerung und beginnen sich ums väterliche Erbe zu sorgen.

Man lasse sich nicht blenden von dem an sozialistische Plakatkunst erinnernden Coverdesign, das eine ukrainisch-britische Immigrantenburleske erwarten lässt. Unter dem Komödienton schlummern dramatische Elemente und eine Familiengeschichte, die manches Lachen verstummen lässt. Die gebürtige Ukrainerin und heute in England lebende Marina Lewycka streut in ihre Kampfhandlungen zweier Schwestern gegen die „böse Stiefmutter“ immer wieder historische Einsprengsel, so die Verfolgung ihrer Familie durch Stalin und dessen gezielt herbeigeführte Hungersnot, die die Ukraine unterwerfen sollte und Millionen Tote forderte. Am Beispiel der gierigen Valentina werden auch die dubiosen Glücksverheißungen des Westens offenbar -- exemplarisch hierfür, die Busenvergrößerung, die der spendable Altbräutigam als Einstandsgeschenk springen lässt. Doch die Wunschliste der toughen Braut war noch lang!

Vera und Nadeshda, diese Hochgebildeten, scheinen ihre radebrechende Meisterin in Pink, Mini und Kunstpelz gefunden zu haben. Der völlig desillusionierte Vater steht vorm Ruin, am frisch gelieferten Busen laben sich andere, und alle Pläne, die Ehe für ungültig zu erklären, scheitern an der Tücke Valentinas und der Trägheit britischer Behörden. Trost findet der gehörnte Nikolai nur in seinem Lebensprojekt, der „Geschichte des Traktors auf Ukrainisch“, einer klugen und traurigen Reflexion über die beginnende Industrialisierung und den Verlust der eigenen Scholle.

Doch auch seine Töchter waren nicht untätig. Beim Durchstöbern des Elternhauses nach belastendem Valentina-Material tauchen brisante Dokumente auf, die die gesamte Familiengeschichte schlagartig ins Wanken bringen. Valentinas ultimatives Gastgeschenk -- von Marina Lewycka charmant und mit leichter Hand zu Papier gebracht -- und völlig zu Recht nominiert für den renommierten Booker Prize. --Ravi Unger


Vater steht auf Traktoren und Titten - ersteres manifestiert sich in seiner Arbeit an einem Trecker-Buch, zweiteres in seiner neuen Frau Valentina. Die ist 48 Jahre jünger als er, hat einen enormen Vorbau und kommt aus der Ukraine. Den Töchtern Vera und Nadeshda ist klar: Die Schlampe ist auf Papas Geld und ein Visum scharf! Um dagegen anzugehen, beerdigen die zwei ihren eigenen Streit und setzen alles daran, das britisch-ukrainische Eheglück zu zerstören. Überraschend enterte Marina Lewyckas Debütroman im letzten Jahr die Bestsellerlisten - vor allem die elegante Mischung aus Familiengeschichte, klischeehafter Lovestory und Immigrantendrama gefiel. In dieser Hörspielbearbeitung von Claudia Kattanek geht der Mix leider flöten. Reduziert auf eine Länge von 60 Minuten, bleibt von Lewyckas Geschichte vor allem der klischeebeladene Teil übrig - durch die Wahl der Sprecher (Jeanette Spassova lässt Valentina wie ein billiges Luder klingen) wird das sogar noch verstärkt. Gelungen ist allerdings die musikalische Untermalung der Geschichte. Dynamisch teilt sie in Sinnabschnitte und unterstützt so die Dramaturgie. (jul) kulturnews.de

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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143036742, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

For years, Nadezhda and Vera have had as little as possible to do with each other. But now they find they'd better learn how to get along, because since their mother's death their ageing father has been sliding into his second childhood, and an alarming new woman has just entered his life.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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