Book review: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

Translated into 35 languages & with many positive reviews, I couldn’t resist the temptation of reading it. What’s more I rarely read fiction, so it was a treat.

I had mixed, bitter-sweet feelings when I was reading the book: On one hand I was laughing out loud and on the other the story made me very sad. I think the sadness was coming from the fact that I also lived in a formerly communist country, Poland, till I reached my early twenties, and I think the story brought some memories back. In the book, the economical, intellectual and cultural differences between East and West are portrayed in a semi-caricatured way. This division pinpoints some aspects of our history and culture that are uncomfortable to me and I think I would prefer not to remember them.

Overall, I think it is a wonderful read, as it doesn’t stop with the last page. You’re left with some unanswered questions and some ideas that you want to analyse and think about. If you wish to learn more about Ukrainian history, about refugees’ lives in the UK, and about human nature, all being presented in a rather comical way, this is the book you want to read!

What have you read recently that fascinated you? Let me know in the comments below.

Kinga Macalla

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