Summary

Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous 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 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 sister’s 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...
©2005 Marina Lewycka (P)2014 Audible, Inc
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Critic reviews

"A charming comedy of eros... A ride that, despite the bumps and curves in the road, never feels anything less than jaunty." (Los Angeles Times)
"Lewycka is a writer with a fundamentally optimistic vision of the future and a healthy curiosity about the past." (Chicago Tribune)
"Charming, poignantly funny." (The Washington Post Book World)
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Regular price: £17.19

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Neil Bottle on 20-06-15

Excellent, charming and very engaging throughout

Another fantastic performance by Sian Thomass, her skill adds immeasurably to this story.
I love the way Lewycka writes. The writing is detailed, funny and warm.
The idiosyncrasies of her characters will make you laugh and reflect in equal measures. If you like Alan Bennett and Mike Leigh, then this is for you
I couldn't wait for this title to be added to audible.
This is audio book at its best. The way sian Thomass uses accent is amazing.
I can't praise her enough.
I spotted some rather negative reviews, about this book and I I wondered if they had read the same book???
I didn't want it to end; when is the next available!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Crispin on 13-02-18

Not amused

I thought this would be humorous from the reviews. It just seems to be some quite awful characters endlessly bickering over an inheritance. Perhaps it improves but couldn’t bear listen long enough to find out. Sorry!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By John S. on 31-07-12

Audio's the way to go here

Some readers really disliked this one, claiming the characters are insufferable. I can see why it might seem so in print, but in the audiobook they were quite well-defined (quibble though that Vera and Valentina were kind of similar sounding names, so I got them a bit confused at times). Since we see the action through the point-of-view of the younger daughter Nadia, naturally we're going to find the sister she dislikes (or at least resents) offputting; at least until the full story comes out later in the book. Nadia is a bit of a put-upon mouse at first, but comes into her own as well. Valentina may be scheming and materialistic, but a golden opportunity was thrust at her, so no surprise she took it! Their father did, indeed, put himself into the mess, but he did so much for the family over the years (as becomes evident later), that I could forgive him a well-intentioned idea ("rescuing" a Ukrainian woman and her son) gone horribly wrong. The book's not perfect - for one thing, I found the War years details clunkily done, awkward to get through. No spoiler, but the later developments were a bit much also: one key player comes to England as part of a long-term conference/training scheme ... yet speaks no English! Still, the farce helps balance out the more serious details of the family's painful past.
I'm not certain I would be giving the print version such a high rating, but the narrator hit a home run with the material as far as I'm concerned. Loathsome though Valentina behaved throughout, I looked forward to her scenes as Thomas laid on the Ukrainian accent and broken English for maximum comic effect. The father was also well done, although he sounded an awful lot like a Russian character in a mystery series I listen to ("What's Petru doing here?").
So, not only would I recommend listening, I was left hoping for a sequel.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Clarissa Emiria on 10-07-12

Ukranian is NOT my strong suit....

What made the experience of listening to A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian the most enjoyable?

I especially enjoyed the narrator's characterizations, and I feel very blessed that I can read along in my paperback copy of the book, when she breaks out the accents :-D

What other book might you compare A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian to and why?

I will not compare it to any other book, none springs to mind, to be honest.... It seems like one of a kind, to me...

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

My humor may be a tad on the morbid side, but I found some of the passages very entertaining, the way they were told were hilarious to me, and I laughed out loud, even on the bus... :-)

That said, I do not condone abuse and mistreatment of the elders...

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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