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A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.jpg
First edition cover
Author Marina Lewycka
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Comedy novel
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date
31 March 2005
Media type Print (Hardback& Paperback)
Pages 336 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 0-670-91560-2 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 57382192

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is a novel by Marina Lewycka, first published in 2005 by Viking (Penguin Books).[1]

The novel won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at the Hay literary festival, the Waverton Good Read Award 2005/6, and was short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, losing to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin.


Originally published in English, this book was translated into Ukrainian where it has received critical acclaim.

The novel describes the reactions of two daughters when their widowed, 84-year-old father Nikolai marries a highly sexual and much younger Ukrainian immigrant, Valentina. Concerned about Valentina’s motives, Nadezhda and Vera are drawn back into contact with each other after a long period of estrangement. They find themselves united against a common enemy in Valentina, whose grasping, manipulative behavior escalates until the daughters finally succeed in obtaining a divorce for their father.

Nikolai, a former engineer who immigrated to Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War, is writing a history of tractors in Ukrainian, translated extracts from which appear throughout the text. In the process of sorting out Nikolai’s marital entanglements, Nadezhda also uncovers secrets from her family’s history and learns about their experiences during the Ukrainian famine and Stalin’s purges.

The novel takes place in Peterborough, England, and is narrated by the youngest daughter, Nadezhda, a university lecturer in Sociology.


  1. ^ Koning, Christina (19 February 2005). "A Short History of Tractors by Marina Lewycka". Times Online (London). Retrieved 7 August 2009. 

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256 news items


Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:46:44 -0700

What is your top summer reading suggestion? Two 'off-the-beaten-path' suggestions: "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" by Marina Lewycka (will have you laughing out loud) and "Hemingway's Chair" by Michael Palin of Monty Python fame ...

The Journal

The Journal
Mon, 29 Jun 2015 05:11:15 -0700

The stage backdrop appeared to be influenced by the cover of the book A Short History of Tractors In Ukrainian (by Sheffield author Marina Lewycka). The evening opened with the first track from the album, a cover of Back In The USSR, which I thought ...
The Bookseller
Thu, 02 Jul 2015 02:22:30 -0700

Lewycka, author of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize-winning debut novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (Penguin), read from her new novel inspired by Berthold Lubetkin, the Georgian-born architect who pioneered modernist design in ...

Crawley Observer

Crawley Observer
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:22:30 -0700

She spent most of her life since then trying to become a writer and finally succeeded in 2005 with A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, which has sold more than a million copies in the UK. This was followed by Two Caravans in March 2007, We Are ...


Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:30:48 -0800

Of Ukrainian origin herself, Lewycka paints a subtle but compelling portrait of a family who, despite their differences, find themselves brought together by their shared history and culture. Check out my review below and see what YOU had to say about it.

The Guardian

The Guardian
Tue, 19 May 2015 01:53:56 -0700

... in the fields near Hay: the prize comes with a locally bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after the winning novel, with previous winners including the late Terry Pratchett for Snuff, and Marina Lewycka for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe
Sat, 04 Oct 2014 15:04:56 -0700

I'm reading “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian'' by Marina Lewycka , which I love, but this is my problem with novels. I want to drown in them, but I don't always have that kind of obsessive time. I picked up a novel by Emma Donoghue, “The ...
Huffington Post
Thu, 14 May 2015 14:21:51 -0700

One of their fatuous suggestions: Ukraine is apparently a very promising source of mail-order brides, which goes to prove that Chinese political leaders have obviously never read A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. Other interesting demographic ...

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