Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

by Marina Lewycka

In Corralejo library, there is a small section of books in English. Most of them are the cheap paperbacks that one buys in the airport and then happily leaves behind once the holidays are over. Still, I was able to find a great book to read: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

As an elderly engineer decides to marry a woman almost fifty years younger, his two middle-aged daughters have to act. Vera and Nadezhda (now Mrs Divorce Expert and Mrs Flog-’em-and-send-’em-home of Tunbridge Wells) put aside their differences and unite in face of a common enemy; that is, their new big-bosomed stepmother and her wunderkind from a previous marriage. Absolutely brilliant.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian: A Novel
My sister and I will take no chances. I draft a letter to the Home Office Immigration Department at Lunar House, Croydon, setting out the story of Valentina’s marriage to our father and her relationship with Bob Turner. I don’t care about being a good liberal any more. I want this woman taken away. I describe the living arrangements — separate beds — and the fact that the marriage has not been consummated, because I believe the Establishment will take the view that penetrative sex is what marriage is all about. I am pleased with the primness of the letter.

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