Sunday, 11 January 2009

right you lazy lot.... team blog

(Lily) Ok, I'll get the ball rolling. The first thing that struck me about Tractors was that some people might think the elderly father contemplating marriage with a much younger compatriot was a little far-fetched. Well let me tell you this ... when my husband's Czechoslovakian father died in his 80s (a heart attack while swimming) we discovered that he had left everything to a mystery Czechoslovakian fiancee that no-one had ever heard of until then! And as for eccentric Slavs - I will never forget the toe-curlingly embarrassing reunion at Gatwick Airport when pa-in-law met up again with his two sons that he abandoned when they were children. I'll spare you the details as its rather personal, but his tirade was delivered in exactly the same broken English as depicted in Tractors, and at full volume!

(Josephine) Wow, Lily. Sounds like you related to this book in a much more personal way than I did. That isn't to say that it didn't suck me in, though. My favorite parts were definitely the descriptions of and interactions with the father, and Nadia's reminiscence of her late mother. I loved the way the two generations (kind of three, as Vera was so much older, and more Ukranian, than Nadia) looked at life.
Her mother lived in fear based on her very real experiences with tyrants, but had no real reason to fear the British government. She used her fear, though, in productive (I would say even heroic) ways. She never spent money she didn't have to spend, she saved every peice of food she could, and she trusted the earth to provide so long as she put in the time and hard work.
The father loved Ukariane but couldn't admit what it had become. He chose to ignore the terrible history and honor the intelligence and creativity that came out of Ukraine.
Vera was haunted and therefore rigid. She loved her family but was too protective to actually protect them until she bent a little to be more like Nadia.
Nadia was a little too understanding. She was the most British of the family, and didn't understand their Ukranian ways. She finally blended the cultures a little more when she became more like Vera.
That horrible Valentina was sooo intriguing, but I also just kind of wanted her to drop dead most of the time.
All I got for now :)

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