Book for February 2008
The novel won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at the Hay literary festival, the Waverton Good Read Award 2005/6, and was short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, losing to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin.
The novel details in comic form the varied reactions by two daughters when their widowed father marries a much younger Ukrainian immigrant. The father, a former engineer, is writing a history of tractors in Ukrainian, extracts from which are interleaved throughout the text.
It is told in the first person from the perspective of one of the daughters, Nadezhda. After their father decides he is going to remarry after his wife's death, Nadezhda is outraged and worried, especially when she meets the wife-to-be: voluptuous gold digger Valentina. The hurricane on their lives that is Valentina serves to bring together the two daughters against a common enemy, as it becomes increasingly clear of the middle-aged divorcee's intents. The family's secret history is overturned as the troubles continue, and their father is gradually weakened and emasculated by his fiancée until the hold is finally broken.
She currently works as a lecturer in media studies at Sheffield Hallam University.