Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Language wars being waged on all fronts

Everyone is raving about the book A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, so I guess I'd better jump on the bandwagon and get reading it! By all accounts it is very funny and brilliantly written. Here's a bit from the publisher's website:

[It] begins as narrator Nadia’s widowed father Nikolai announces his intention to marry a glamorous divorcee fifty years younger than he. His two feuding daughters realize they must unite to free their father from the clutches of Valentina, a Ukrainian bombshell ... with “superior” breasts and a “genius” son... Family secrets are revealed, and the tragic history of Ukraine is revisited in this moving, informative, and laugh-out-loud funny family drama.

The author was interviewed in this article and mentions that the book has been translated into other languages. She found the Russian translation rather "slapdash" and skimpy (for examples, she points out that Tolstoy's works in Russian are three times the size of the English versions).

Sigh. This sort of thing is supposed to dispel the notion held by many Ukrainians that Russians remain imperialistic at heart and, at best, patronizingly paternalistic towards Ukrainians?

4 comments:

Michelle said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book....it is very funny!

Anonymous said...

What's the connection with alleged Russian imperialistic thoughts? I must be missing a vital reference here.

Pawlina said...

Ref: "slapdash" and "skimpy"

Pawlina said...

Thanks for dropping by, Michelle! It seems everyone who's read the book has found it funny ... so I'm really looking forward to reading it!

Hope all's well with you in Kyiv.