A Short History Of Tractors In The Ukraine by Marina Lewycka

A Short History Of Tractors In The Ukraine was this month’s book club read and one of which we all enjoyed in varying degrees. The story of Nikolai’s plans to marry a much younger Valentina was one of which had many layers; sibling rivalry; a woman’s selfish needs for a much better life and an old man who wanted to pass on his knowledge of tractors. The sibling rivalry was something that we all identified with and the upbringing of having very little to eat, making their own clothes was something that certain members could relate to when rationing was still in place.

We all agreed that although Valentina was trying desperately to mask the fact that she was only thinking of her son and wanting a better life for him, was simply not true and she was an incredibly selfish woman that naively thought the streets were paved with gold, certainly a story that was relevant to this time.

The only elements of the story that we struggled with where the short clips of the tractor history. Where as they obviously gave the title of the book, which made it stand out from the crowd, we all thought that these would be somewhat intertwinned within the story, but where just stand alone pieces that were quite boring and most of us skipped.

Although we didn’t agree with The Times review of ‘extremely funny’, we did laugh out loud at some of the bits and agreed that although we enjoyed this book, we wouldn’t rush out to read another one of the author’s books, but did wonder if she carried on the same vein as this.

On the last note, one book club reader was very pleased to learn a new word from the book ‘perspicacious’!

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