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24 juillet 2006 1 24 /07 /juillet /2006 13:02

Iată o carte care mi-a atras atenţia mai ales prin titlu, dar parcurgând o parte din ea (în ediţia rusă, pentru că traducătorul a folosit pentru versiunea sa o găselniţă care mie mi s-a părut binevenită, anume, folosise cuvinte în ukraineană! - limba părinţilor autoarei!), am înţeles că e mai mult decât o carte estivală, conjuncturală. M-a atras pentru că nu e o carte despre Estul europei scrisă cu scârbă, sastisit, aseptic, ci cu umor, compasiune şi melancolie. Este o carte despre o familie de ukraineni stabiliti de peste o jumătate de secol în Regatul Unit (UK), care-şi urma cursul firesc al emigranţilor (economie de mijloace, educaţie onorabilă pentru copii etc.) . Părinţii autoarei s-au stabilit ei înşişi acolo, după ce au trecut prin lagărul din Kiel, prin urmare avem de-a face cu un roman autoreferenţial. La un moment dat pacea familiei Maevski se spulberă; mama (o grădinăreasă desăvîrşită şi o bună gospodină) moare, iar tata la doi ani după acest tragic accident, deja în vârstă de 84 de ani - îşi anunţă una din fete, Nadejda (care e şi naratoarea), că el vrea să se însoare cu o blondă de doar 36 de ani,  Valentina, care prin acest "sacrilegiu" vrea să se naturalizeze în Regatul Unit...împreună cu fiul său. Intriga dintre cele două surori pe de o parte, şi aversiunea lor pentru intrusa care vrea să se folosească de tatăl lor, se desfăşoară pe fundalul unui apetit literar al căpeteniei familiei, Nikolai Maevski, care şi-a publicat primul său poem încă 1927 - dedicat inaugurării unei centrale hidrolectrice pe Nipru! A fost un apropiat al cercurilor reacţionare, dar a ajuns inginer. Acum, la bătrâneţe, trudeşte la o istorie a tractoarelor scrisă direct în limba ukraineană...pe care o poceşte...Blonda din Ternopol este pentru el un prilej de milosîrdie, de a scăpa de sărăcie şi nevoi măcar un suflet din ţara sa de baştină. E de citit pe îndelete. E perspectiva cuiva care deşi s-a născut în Vest, intervine în problematicile ţării sale, atât de tulburate şi încercate, mai ales după Revoluţia Portocalie, cu o doză de cumpătare, echilibru şi delicateţe (deşi, presa din Ukraina nu a avut cronici prea bune la apariţia cărţii!).  

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sapokleak 14/05/2007 16:27

Coperta de la Penguin Viking, cea cu grafica constructivista, in spiritul anilor'30 este realizata de celebrul Jonathan Gray:
 http://www.gray318.com/books.html
Great!!!

Radiana Folescu 26/07/2006 10:34

Recunosc, ne-a "prins" bine cartea asta. Am citit-oacu' cateva luni si imi amintesc cu placere de ea side faptul ca era scrisa in engleza si ca "istoria"trebuia tradusa in engleza si ca sotul englez alnadiei era si el numit a la russe de catre socru sica...simpatica ideea de a o citi in traducere rusa, cutoate ca aici accesul la ea e limitat la original :)(si, desigur, cunostintele mele de rusa nu mi-arpermite sa citesc decat, cel mult, denumirilestrazilor in moscova).

Vladimir 25/07/2006 13:22

SURSA articolului postat:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,923-1488467,00.html

Vladimir 25/07/2006 13:20









A Short History of Tractors by Marina Lewycka
reviewed by CHRISTINA KONING
‘You flesh-eating witch’















A SHORT HISTORY OF TRACTORS IN UKRAINIANBy Marina LewyckaViking, £12.99; 336pp ISBN 0 670 91560 2 Buy the book
 
Lewycka’s engaging tale about a dysfunctional Ukrainian family is set in Peterborough in the early 1990s — a suitably drab, utilitarian setting for a work whose range of reference includes the horrors of Soviet labour camps, growing up in “austerity” Britain, and the labyrinthine workings of the immigration system.




 








Her narrator, Nadia, is, like the author, the child of Ukrainian refugees — a “peace baby”, born at the end of the Second World War, who has never known anything other than the mundane security of her parents’ adopted country. Unlike her rebarbative elder sister, Vera — the “war baby” of the family — Nadia prides herself on her left-wing views. It is these which are severely tested, when, to the dismay of both sisters, their 84-year-old widower father Nikolai decides to marry the voluptuous Valentina — an “economic migrant” less than half his age.
With her breasts “like twin warheads”, fluffy peep-toe mules and barbarous English, Valentina is a splendid comic creation. Alternately ludicrous and menacing, she bullies and cajoles the besotted Nikolai into giving her most of his savings, all the while taunting him with his lack of sexual prowess and parading her various lovers in front of him.
When it seems as if their father may actually be at risk of being murdered by his greedy and rapacious spouse, Nadia and Vera decide to take action, sinking their bitter differences in order to do so. Nadia finds herself, to her chagrin, turning into “Mrs Flog-’em-and-send- ’em-home”, jettisoning her liberal principles in her desire for revenge. What follows is, by turns, extremely funny and extremely dark, touching on subjects not usually treated as comedy, such as the abuse of the elderly and the hounding of asylum-seekers.
What makes this book more than just a jolly romp with political undertones is the way it captures the peculiar flavour of Eastern European immigrant life in the postwar years, and after. Details — a list of hoarded tins in a kitchen cupboard, for instance — conjure an era of make-do-and-mend. Family anecdotes — a father and teenage daughter arguing about communism — evoke intellectual debates once passionately fought, and long since rendered irrelevant. An old man devotes his declining years to writing a history of the tractor. Best of all is the author’s rendering of the “mongrel language” — half-English, half-Ukrainian — spoken by her characters, whose fractured syntax and colourful neologisms give the narrative its snap. These are people given to histrionics — “You she-cat-dog-vixen-flesh-eating witch” is a typically vigorous piece of invective.
Underlying these outbursts are darker memories of the Soviet era, when a word in the wrong ear could mean betrayal. It is this shameful history that Nadia — trying to piece together the truth about her family’s past — has to come to terms with. Gradually she understands why she and her sister — born ten years apart — have grown up with such different views of their shared Eastern European past. Eventually she comes to understand — and to forgive — her parents. This is a novel in which ghosts are laid — the ghosts of international conflicts, and those of family strife. Uncomfortable ironies are explored: the tendency of “assimilated” immigrants to reject more recent incomers — even those of their own kind — is one of these. All of which makes A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian a very rich mixture indeed, as well as very enjoyable reading. One can see why it was an obvious choice for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime.