Tuesday, October 16, 2012
a Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
I spotted this book at a used book store not too long ago and thought it looked weird and interesting and then I promptly put it down and forgot about it for awhile. Last week I stumbled across it in the library and decided to give it a shot. I'm perpetually drawn to anything with a Russian or Eastern European slant so I thought it would be a winner.
Long story short - it wasn't. But maybe it is just me, since the book had been short-listed for the Orange prize and long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. But the whole thing just felt sloppy to me. The story revolves around a family of two estranged sisters and one elderly father who is getting married to a woman from Ukraine (where he is from). The action is set in England and the characters have had to deal with the affects of the revolution in Ukraine and now the gold digger, Valentina, who seems to love showing everyone her augmented boobs while she demands more and more money from her new husband. The sisters want Valentina out and reconnect over their mutual disgust at the relationship their father has with this woman.
The book is told in choppy segments, mostly from the point of view of the younger sister. I have hardly any real sense of what she is like, and yet manage not to like her. She has a closer relationship with her father (supposedly) but seems to switch from really caring to not caring at all and from oh-I-hate-her to walking down the street arm-in-arm with no explanation. Also WHO THE HELL PICKS UP A USED CONDOM OF THEIR FATHER'S? EW. This was not in any sexual scene at all so it wasn't as gross as you might think but it was pretty big on the ick-factor, which is rampant in this book. The elderly father is naked a whole lot and it was just too much.
I finished this book because I have a hard time not finishing a book. I could have pushed this up from a two-star to three-star had there not been the last chapter on their. The one prior was the most interesting part of the book to me, a simple sum up of the two sisters lives. And then just puff and more naked old guy. I feel that this story had so much potential but the book doesn't do it any justice.
In a nutshell: meh.