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The circle met at the new venue for the second meeting of this year “Chez” Anne at the earlier time of 7.30. After an introduction by Gill a lively discussion followed. Most had enjoyed the book. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian follows the lives of an emigre family who originally came to Britain after 1945 having suffered the vicissitudes of the Russian Revolution, the famines and purges of Stalin and subsequently the Nazi invasion and prison camps. The elderly father of the family, a widower who has spent years writing his book on the development of tractors has fallen in love with a much younger brassy haired Ukrainian woman, Valentina, with enormous breasts and a taste for gaudy underwear and clothing whose visa is about to expire and will use any ends to achieve the lifestyle she craves for herself and her young son in the west, regardless that she already has a husband back in the Ukraine and a liaison in Britain. Having wed him her delusion about his wealth being revealed she revenges herself on the poor old man by mulching him of as much money as possible and multiple unkindnesses. Her domestic inadequacies compared to his late wife add to his confusion, her cooking consisting of endless “boil in the bag” meals.
His daughters regard all this with horror and one follows the tale through the eyes of Nadezhda the younger daughter, a left wing social worker and her sister Vera who survived the labour camps. They manage to bury their life long differences in rescuing their father from the grasping hands of Valentina. There are many interesting characters and strong story lines in the book and many amusing incidents which led to a Good Read.
Next months book is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.
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