Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

About the book

Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must put aside feuding to save their engineer father from gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, she will stop at nothing in her pursuit of wealth. But the sisters’ campaign to oust Valentina unearths secrets and sends them back to roots they’d much rather forget.

Reviewed by Yateley Library Reading Group:

All enjoyed this book. We felt it was a good contemporary subject and all sides were sympathised with. It made us laugh and we liked the interwoven hidden story of the characters earlier lives. Some thought it was farcical and not believable – this was the minority.

Star rating: ***

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13 thoughts on “Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka”

  1. Review by Keyhaven Book Circle:
    A good read. A lot of layers, more depth than approved at first, a good book for group discussion. We were surprised at the humour prize. Some bits were funny, some black humour, near tragedy, near farce.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Weston Readers:
    Maybe too plausible! Easy read, page turner, felt by some to be lacking in depth or literary merit. Others really enjoyed the book.
    Star rating: **

  3. Review by Bridewell Beauties:
    Well constructed plot and a good use of language with a Ukrainian accent coming through very strongly. Full of family truths and our heroine shows great compassion
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Eastleigh Library Wednesday Group:
    Our group had very mixed views on this book. It was an entertaining and informative black comedy with a pleasing positive ending for all of the characters. There were many layers and it was touching in places. The characters, however, tended to come across as caricatures
    Star rating: ***

  5. Review by Everton Reading Group:
    Title and presentation behind the story behind the cover. Fabulous – could not put it down. A compelling read – the humour aspect was rather watered down or not in tune with our sense of humour. The book tackles issues of immigration with great insight. The interpretation of the main characters language was very funny. Like a biography – it read well. Cover reminds us of war paper.
    Star rating: ****

  6. Review by Botley Reading Group:
    Most of the group enjoyed this book and found it comic. However, a small minority perhaps dealing with elderly relatives found it rather dark and depressing.
    Star rating: ***

  7. Review by Andover Library Reading Group:
    Very funny, true to life, poignant, easy to read, short snappy writing. Enjoyed the ending.
    Star rating: ***

  8. Review by U3A Group2:
    Very amusing, well depicted characters, very feasible. Discussion ensued about people’s backgrounds and what makes them who they are.
    Star rating: ****

  9. Review by South Sea Literature Group:
    An interesting book in view of recent problems in Ukraine and immigration problems in UK but the style is patchy. It attempts comedy, agriculture, political/cultural and history. This produces a lumpy forematt that makes for uneasy reading. Although described as ‘hilarious’ and funny the overall feeling was one of sadness. Pappas importance and age was more pathetic and relationship between him and valentia and created improbable tension. The overview might be that the novel is an easy read with serious undertone and somewhat hyperbolic. Some members of the group found the book cruel and the so called humour unpleasant.
    Star rating: **

  10. A book that split the group. All thought the characterisation was good. Those that didn’t like it thought it had elements of pantomime and soap. Those that did, found it humorous and sad. A believable and interesting concept having the history of tractors as central to the story. Star rating ** for some and **** for others.

  11. Review by Monday AM 3rd week of the month
    Very enjoyable, funny but with sad undertones. A good insight into family life with issues and also informative of life in Ukraine.
    **** 4 stars

  12. Review by Tuesday Reading Group
    We all enjoyed the writing and found it easy to read; robust characters and bawdy humour. All this underpinned by serious issues. Everyone would like to read more of her books.
    Star rating: ***+1/2

  13. Review by Bridgemary Bookworms
    On the whole an OK book giving insight to family life, sibling rivalry and another country’s way of life.
    Star rating ***

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