A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is actually Lewycka's first published book but it is the third one of hers I have read after loving her latest release We are all Made of Glue and enjoying (but not loving) her second book Two Caravans. Based on my latest read I am glad that I have read the books in reverse order of their publication because although I did enjoy Tractors it was possibly my least favourite of the three.
Tractors is told from the perspective of Nadezhda (Nadia) the youngest adult daughter of a family who emigrated to England after WW2. Nadia has a virtually non-existent relationship with her older sister, Vera, following an argument that arose from their mother's death a couple of years before. The two sisters are reunited in some way though after their elderly father announces he is going to marry a woman much younger than himself so that she can obtain a residency visa for the UK. Nadia and Vera join forces to try and stop the marriage from happening in the first place and when that is not successful they work on ending it as soon as possible. They have good reasons for wanting the marriage to be over - their father's new wife is quite abusive towards him and I found these scenes particularly difficult to read.
Along with this story we learn the history of the families move to England and how different people in the family have different memories, interpretations and experiences of that history.
The book definitely has Lewycka's characteristic trait of combining serious issues with humour - I just found it harder to go over to the humour side in this book.