That’s a Ukrainian greeting right there, translated into familiar characters, because Ukrainian uses a whole different alphabet. It looks pretty cool, but I thought I’d avoid having y’all think I was hacked first thing in my post. Why all the chatter about Ukrainian? A book, obviously. Last month I joined The Book Wheel and Love at First Book in their book club. Their choice was A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.
The title is deceiving, kids! Very little of this book has anything to do with tractors. It’s actually a family drama. There’s this Ukrainian family that emigrated to England in the aftermath of WWII, see? They lived happily ever after… Or at least, more happily ever after than would have been possible if they’d stayed living under the thumb of a government employing a secret police and famine as a means of submission.
After a good long life, the mother of the family succumbs to cancer. Things start to get dicey when a few short years later, the elderly patriarch proposes marriage to a Ukrainian immigrant in her 30s who is obviously (at least to daughters Vera and Nadia) out for money and citizenship. It’s every bit as scandalous as it sounds, I promise.
I was pleased how quickly this book moved- it kept a good pace without feeling rushed. I found it to be an easy read, with an unexpected amount of humor injected into what could have been a wildly depressing story. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy myself nearly as much as I did. Yay for happy surprises, right?
It’s kind of ironic that I picked up this book now, you know? Ukraine isn’t ordinarily a country I’d expect to be popping up in the news, but there it is all embroiled in conflict. Sadness for all involved. However. I did learn something, thanks to Ukraine’s newfound notoriety. I have a Facebook friend who knows ALL THE THINGS about Russian culture. Anybody else out there have a knee-jerk desire to refer to Ukraine as “the” Ukraine? APPARENTLY, Soviet-era Russian newspapers popularized the phrasing “the” Ukraine in order to belittle the country. Grammar aggression? Low blow, guys.
Tell me bookworms, have you ever been reading a book to have it suddenly become topical?