Broken Glass Park

( 8 )

Overview


Broken Glass Park made a remarkable debut when it was published in Germany in 2008. Its author, the twenty-nine-year old Russian-born Alina Bronksy has since been hailed as a wunderkind, an immense talent who has been the subject of constant praise and debate.

The heroine of this enigmatic, razor-sharp, and thoroughly contemporary novel is seventeen- year-old Sacha Naimann, born in Moscow. Sacha lives in Berlin now with her two younger siblings and, until recently, her mother. ...

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Overview


Broken Glass Park made a remarkable debut when it was published in Germany in 2008. Its author, the twenty-nine-year old Russian-born Alina Bronksy has since been hailed as a wunderkind, an immense talent who has been the subject of constant praise and debate.

The heroine of this enigmatic, razor-sharp, and thoroughly contemporary novel is seventeen- year-old Sacha Naimann, born in Moscow. Sacha lives in Berlin now with her two younger siblings and, until recently, her mother. She is precocious, independent, skeptical and, since her stepfather murdered her mother several months ago, an orphan. Unlike most of her companions, she doesn?t dream of getting out the tough housing project where they live. Her dreams are different: she wants to write a novel about her mother; and she wants to end the life of Vadim, the man who murdered her.

What strikes the reader most in this exceptional novel is Sacha?s voice: candid, self-confident, mature and childlike at the same time: a voice so like the voices of many of her generation with its characteristic mix of worldliness and innocence, skepticism and enthusiasm. This is Sacha?s story and it is as touching as any in recent literature.

Germany?s Freundin Magazine called Broken Glass Park ?a ruthless, entertaining portrayal of life on the margins of society.? But Sacha?s story does not remain on the margins; it goes straight to the heart of what it means to be seventeen in these the first years of the new century.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Sascha Naimann is nobody's fool. At 17, she's wise beyond her years, an improbable mixture of naïveté and grit, innocence and skepticism, a young woman of considerable talents, just shy of maturity. Born in Moscow and now living in Berlin with her two younger siblings — all orphaned two years ago — Sascha is much better at gauging life's complexities than her mother ever was — a woman who, for all her other good qualities, was incapable of recognizing when it was time to show a man the door. When she finally did, the man in question returned and shot her.

Fiercely independent yet understandably wary, Sascha has no intention of moving on or letting go. Friends, school, the self-absorption and silliness of adolescence — none of these appeal to her. Her dreams now are fueled by vengeance and provide all the company she needs. Sascha's resolute voice, mordant humor, and rueful honesty guide the reader through her days, but her revenge is derailed by new acquaintances and unexpected events.

Swiftly paced and meticulously crafted, Broken Glass Park introduces an iconic contemporary heroine — a young woman who seizes life on her own terms, whose wisdom comes at great cost, and whose singular achievement is to hold tight to her faith. It's a story that is as unforgettable as they come.

Library Journal
This debut novel, which was nominated for the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, reveals a strong voice that's simultaneously biting and accessible. Its narrator, precocious 17-year-old Sacha, lives in a housing project in Berlin populated by Russian immigrants. She's at the top of the class in her exclusive private school and has two goals in life: to kill her stepfather and to write a book about her mother tentatively titled "The Story of an Idiotic, Redheaded Woman Who Would Still Be Alive if Only She Had Listened to Her Smart, Oldest Daughter." This modern coming-of-age story follows Sacha as she ventures further afield. It is unfortunate that Bronsky's depiction of the immigrant community veers into stereotype because, as an émigré herself, she is uniquely situated to critique her fellow travelers. Additionally, while translator Mohr's prose is pitch-perfect, the way his notes are inserted in the text distracts from the flow of the narrative. VERDICT This is the kind of book one expects to see on high school reading lists. It faces difficult issues head-on, and its edginess will appeal to teens.—Karen Walton Morse, Univ. at Buffalo Libs.
Publishers Weekly
In her riveting debut, Bronsky gives us Sascha Naimann, a 17-year-old Russian immigrant living in Germany who narrates a brutal story with a sharp, canny voice. Sascha is determined to kill her stepfather, Vadim, who murdered her mother, but with Vadim in prison and social workers hovering, Vadim's cousin, Maria, arrives to care for Sascha and her younger stepsiblings. A puff piece in the local paper about Vadim's supposed reformation sends a livid Sascha to the newspaper office, where she meets Volker Trebur, an editor who, having briefly known Sascha's mother, offers to make things right. Sascha quickly takes him up on the offer, moving in to Volker's guestroom and beginning an intense involvement with Volker's family—particularly his teenage son. When that flames out, Sascha ends up in “broken glass park,” the dangerous area in her neighborhood where drugs, booze, and rough sex prevail. Sascha's hunger for life shines through her relentless fight to leave behind a painful childhood—a struggle complicated by an unexpected twist in the final act—making for a stark, moving tale of resiliency and survival. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
A lively debut novel with a cheerfully cynical narrator, first published in Germany in 2008, from Russian-born Bronsky. The focus of the narrative is the consciousness of Sascha Naimann, a 17-year-old emigre from Russia to Germany. She's skeptical, witty, loving, intimidating, vulnerable-and understandably furious that her stepfather, Vadim, murdered her mother a few months before the story opens. What enrages her most is that he's in prison and thus out of reach of her fury, but she nevertheless plots revenge with feverish intensity. Sascha is now more or less in charge of her two younger siblings, the precocious Anton and the adorable Alissa. They all live in the Emerald, a disjunctively named public-housing project that is scarcely the jewel of Berlin. After a breathless and almost admiring article about Vadim appears in a local rag, Sascha shows up at the editorial office to set the record straight. There she meets Volker, an older man she quickly becomes enamored with and seeks out as a refuge from her wretched life in the projects. When Volker takes Sascha home, she gets more than she bargained for because she also meets Volker's son Felix, a weak and chronically ill teenager who in turn becomes smitten with Sascha. They both quickly lose their virginity, and later that same night Sascha is accosted by Volker. Although "nothing happens," he's ashamed of his behavior and still courts Sascha's friendship. At one point Peter the Great invites Sascha to "Broken Glass Park," a wooded area known as a place where sketchy characters smoke dope and do other dark deeds, but it also becomes a metaphor for the unassailably bleak landscape inhabited by the narrator. Sascha becomes infuriatedwhen she learns that Vadim has supposedly repented for his crime and then hanged himself in his jail cell, but she also finds that this act liberates her into the possibility of a more positive existence, one not based on a desire for bloody vengeance. A touching story, both tough and tender. Author tour to Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933372969
  • Publisher: Europa Editions, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Pages: 366
  • Sales rank: 1,391,343
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Jekaterinburg, Russia, in 1978, the author now lives in Frankfurt, Germany. Broken Glass Park, nominated for the prestigious Bachmann Prize among others, is her first novel. Alina Bronsky is a pseudonym. Little else is known about the author's true identity.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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    Posted April 23, 2012

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    Hey! I'm locked out of camp! Please tell everyone! I will also tell them once my new post is up in The Island Stallion! Please hurry! ~ Thankful Lilystar

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