A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

I don’t normally read fiction.  I generally read factual books, eg … for Dummies books.  Having said that, the last book I read was Look Who’s Back, the English-language translation of Er Ist Wieder Da.  Maybe I’m getting into fiction and plot development in my middle age?

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, despite the somewhat unusual book title, earned rave reviews when it came out in 2006.  (Or was it 2008?)  I myself bought my copy at Düsseldorf Christ Church Anglican church Advent market in December 2013.  Only this week did I start reading it.  The Spectator‘s reviewer described A Short History as “funny.”  Certainly, the book is funny.  Especially during the first chapter, I was laughing out loud, in part because I remember the “passport-hunter” Russian women and the naive/gullible/desperate to have a woman/desperate to get married British students from my year abroad in the Soviet Union/Russia 1991-1992.  Nonetheless, as I turned further pages at fairly rapid rate, I was chuckling and grinning broadly less and less.  I haven’t yet finished reading the book, but there are a lot of themes in the book, some very sad.  When I finished instalment n this afternoon, I had a lump in my throat and damp eyes, after reading about:

  • Elder/domestic abuse
  • An old man desperate for company/carnal pleasure
  • A middle-age woman desperate for the material wealth to be achieved from a new life in the west
  • Sisters burying the hatchet in order to fight a common enemy
  • A guardianista turning suddenly right-wing when an illegal immigrant’s actions affect her
  • Stalin
  • Ukrainian-Russian enmity

What will happen at the end?  I don’t think it’s a case of “…and they all lived happily ever after.”

Will this book be a school required reading, a la Cider with Rosie or The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time?

A Short History



2 thoughts on “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

  1. Bin mal auf das Hörbuch gespannt…. 🙂

  2. Cool.

    Das Buch geht um bl00dy foreigners coming into my country. Die Tochter ist sehr gut assimiliert worden. Sie ist nicht rassistisch – sie hasst ALLE Ausländer. 🙂

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