A short review of A Short History of the Tractor in Ukrainian

So, pretty much the quickest I’ve ever read a novel.  From cover to cover in just over a week, mostly down the English Library in Düsseldorf Altstadt, but also:

  • On the 701 heading into the city centre
  • Starbucks and platform 14 at the Hauptbahnhof
  • The S6 to Essen

So, my thoughts are thus.

An excellent book, and very original story.  I “got” the book, because I remember the “passport-hunter” ex-Soviet and post-Soviet women from my year abroad in Voronezh 1991-1992.  I also know a reasonable amount of East European history.  What I loved were:

  • Laughing out loud during the first two chapters and the ridiculous situation
  • Having damp eyes as the dark humour just became dark, no humour
  • The realism of the materialist passport-hunter
  • The question of who is the baddie, who is the goodie?  It became less clear-cut as I read each chapter
    • Passport-hunter just wanted a decent life for herself and her son
    • Father was desperate for someone to keep him warm in bed, bring him a cup of tea in the winter of his life.  Why should his two daughters get his inheritance?
  • The courtroom dramas… “under duress”
  • The happy ending.  Not quite, “They all lived happily ever after,” but on the whole a pretty win-win situation.

I am sorely tempted to read more by this author.

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