Marina Lewycka’s debut novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, became a bestseller in 2005. Both funny and tragic, it concerns the problems that arise when the narrator’s elderly parent falls for a brash, younger Ukrainian woman who is keen on gaining a British passport. Lewycka was born in a refugee camp in Kiel, Germany, of Ukrainian parents, and grew up in England. I catch her in Sheffield, on her way to stay with friends. They are the people in whose house she finished writing her first novel. She is completing her second.
There's often a dark side to witticisms. You’ve won awards for humour – is there a blurring of comedy and tragedy in your first novel?
I wouldn't say it's a blurring, more two sides to the same coin – like the Tragic mask and the Comic mask. Wordsworth said that poetry