A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is bestselling author Marina Lewycka's hilarious and award winning debut novel, now available as a Penguin Essential for the first time.
'Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukrainian divorcée. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.'
Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must aside a lifetime of feuding to save their émigré engineer father from voluptuous gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for green satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, she will stop at nothing in her pursuit of Western wealth.
But the sisters' campaign to oust Valentina unearths family secrets, uncovers fifty years of Europe's darkest history and sends them back to roots they'd much rather forget . . .
'It's rare to find a first novel that gets so much right . . . Lewycka is a seriously talented comic writer' Time Out
'Hugely enjoyable . . . yields a golden harvest of family truths' Daily Telegraph
'Delightful, funny, touching' Spectator
'Lively . . . a joy to read' - The Times
Shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize
From the bestselling author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
North London in the twenty-first century: a place where a son will swiftly adopt an old lady and take her home from hospital to impersonate his dear departed mother, rather than lose the council flat.
A time of golden job opportunities, though you might have to dress up as a coffee bean or work as an intern at an undertaker or put up with champagne and posh French dinners while your boss hits on you.
A place rich in language - whether it's Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, Swahili or buxom housing officers talking managementese.
A place where husbands go absent without leave and councillors sacrifice cherry orchards at the altar of new builds.
Marina Lewycka is back in this hilarious, farcical, tender novel of modern issues and manners.
Lentils, free love, radical politics and family truths . . . Various Pets Alive and Dead is the wonderfully funny fourth novel from Marina Lewycka, author of the bestselling A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.
For twenty years Doro and Marcus lived in a commune, convinced lentils and free love would change the world. They didn't. What they did do was give their children a terror of radicalism, dirt, cooking rotas and poverty. Their daughter Clara wants nothing less conformist than her own, clean bathroom. Their son Serge hides the awkward fact that he's a banker earning loadsamoney. So when Doro and Marcus spring a surprise on their kids - just as the world is rocked in ways they always wished for - the family is forced to confront some thorny truths about themselves . . .
'Wonderfully funny . . . a dizzy, eye-watering treat . . . Lewycka is somewhere between Hilary Mantel in her satirical mode and Sue Townsend' Independent
'Thank heavens for Marina Lewycka whose Various Pets Alive and Dead me laugh at least once in every chapter . . . The warmth of its tone, its zest, its blend of quirky, humane comedy and intellectual seriousness make this a novel to treasure' New Statesman
'Marina Lewycka's latest novel is wonderfully funny with moments of pure farce in the best tradition of social satire . . . this inventive and witty book fizzes along from beginning to end' Daily Express
Marina Lewycka was born in Kiel, Germany, after the war, grew up in England and lives in Sheffield. Her first novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, longlisted for the Man Booker and won the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction and the Waverton Good Read Award. Her second novel, Two Caravans, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans and Marina's third novel, We Are All Made of Glue, are all available in Penguin
Marina Lewycka returns to the characters from A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, with a hilarious erotic twist, in this laugh-out-loud short story, A Shorter History of Tractors in Ukrainian with Handcuffs.
'Ever since she'd first read Sherlock Holmes, Laura Carter had dreamed of being a detective . . . Books were both her escape and her guilty pleasure, which eased her through the boring days and enlivened the nights when her husband was too tired for love. She devoured everything from Proust to Harry Potter, from James Joyce to EL James, she adored detective stories, but maybe her favourite author was Marina Lewycka, whose A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian had strangely echoed a case she had once worked on.'
Marina Lewycka was born in Kiel, Germany, after the war, grew up in England and lives in Sheffield. Her first novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, longlisted for the Man Booker and won the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction and the Waverton Good Read Award. Her second novel, Two Caravans, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans, We Are All Made of Glue and Marina's fourth novel, Various Pets Alive and Dead, are all available in Penguin.
Georgie Sinclair's life is coming unstuck. Her husband's left her. Her son's obsessed with the End of the World. And now her elderly neighbour Mrs Shapiro has decided they are related.
Or so the hospital informs her when Mrs Shapiro has an accident and names Georgie next of kin. This, however, is not a case of a quick ward visit: Mrs Shapiro has a large rickety house full of stinky cats that needs looking after that a pair of estate agents seem intent on swindling from her. Plus there are the 'Uselesses' trying to repair it (uselessly). Then there's the social worker who wants to put her in a nursing home. Not to mention some letters that point to a mysterious, painful past.
As Georgie tries her best to put Mrs Shapiro's life back together somehow she must stop her own from falling apart...
Two Caravans is the hilarious and engaging second novel from bestselling author Marina Lewycka.
A field of strawberries in Kent...
And sitting in it are two caravans - one for the men and one for the women. The residents are from all over: miner's son Andriy is from the old Ukraine, while sexy young Irina is from the new: they each other warily. There are the Poles, Tomasz and Yola; two Chinese girls; and Emauel from Malawi. They're all here to pick strawberries in England's green and pleasant land.
But these days England's not so pleasant for immigrants. Not with Russian gangster-wannabes like Vulk, who's taken a shine to Irina and thinks kidnapping is a wooing strategy. And so Andriy - who really doesn't fancy Irina, honest - must set off in search of that girl he's not in love with.
'Immensely appealing. All but sings with zest for life...could hardly be more engaging, shrewd and winningly perceptive' Sunday Times
'Extremely funny, closely observed insights, scenes of farce, tragedy and horror' The Times Literary Supplement
'Hilarious and horrifying, Two Caravans is funny, clever and well observed' Guardian
Bestselling author Marina Lewkyca has received great critical acclaim since the publication of her hilarious first novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian in 2005, which was the winner of the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction 2005, winner of the Saga Award for Wit 2005, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2005 and longlisted for the Booker prize 2005. Her other humorous novels We Are All Made of Glue and Various Pets Alive and Dead are also available from Penguin. Two Caravans is published as Strawberry Fields in the USA and Canada.
Marina Lewycka was born in Kiel, Germany, after the war, and moved to England with her family when she was about a year old. Her first novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, has sold more than a million copies in the UK alone and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, longlisted for the Man Booker and won the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction and the Waverton Good Read Award. Her second novel, Two Caravans, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans and Marina's third and fourth novels, We Are All Made of Glue and Various Pets Alive and Dead are all available in Penguin. Marina Lewycka lives in Sheffield.