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Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky
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Broken Glass Park (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Alina Bronsky, Tim Mohr (Translator)

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2692184,743 (3.66)67
In this "riveting debut" a Russian teenager living in Berlin dreams of taking revenge on the man who killed her mother--"A stark, moving tale of resiliency" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). A finalist for the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize Now an award-winning motion picture Seventeen-year-old Sascha Naimann was born in Moscow, but now lives in Berlin with her two younger siblings. She is precocious, independent, streetwise, and ever since her stepfather Vadim murdered her mother several months ago, an orphan. Unlike most of her peers, Sascha doesn't dream of escaping the grim housing project where they live. Sascha's dreams of writing a novel about her beautiful but naïve mother . . . and of taking Vadim's life. In a voice that is candid and self-confident, by turns childlike and mature, Sascha relates the internal struggle between those forces that can destroy us, and those that lead us out of sorrow and back to life. Broken Glass Park goes straight to the heart of what it means to be young, alive, and conscious in these first decades of the new millenium. "A gripping portrayal of life on the margins of society." --Freundin magazine (Germany)… (more)
Member:lkuechen
Title:Broken Glass Park
Authors:Alina Bronsky
Other authors:Tim Mohr (Translator)
Info:Europa Editions (2010), Paperback, 366 pages
Collections:Your library
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Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky (2008)

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» See also 67 mentions

English (20)  German (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Sasha is a Russian emigrant living in a housing project in Berlin with her younger half siblings and an aunt. She's brave and resilient and fiercely intelligent. She's also deeply damaged and has trouble trusting anyone. Circumstances put her into contact with a sympathetic man and his teenage son and, as the story progresses, the full story of what happened to her is revealed. There's some harsh things revealed in this novel, and it's sometime difficult to read about what Sacha experienced during her childhood.

This is a debut novel and it reads like a first novel; it's somewhat awkward in places and the pacing is odd, but there's also raw emotion, Sasha feels like a real person throughout. It's set among Russian immigrants and it's full of love for that community, even as Sasha wants to get away from it. I'll be reading more from this author. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | May 24, 2022 |
Wow! Quite a coming of age story, although BROKEN GLASS PARK's heroine, Sascha, at seventeen has already been through some very serious and traumatic stuff, so she's pretty much already "come of age," and now she's just fighting for her own survival and that of her two younger half-siblings. The story is set in a housing project on the edge of Frankfurt (yeah, Germany - the novel is translated from German) filled mostly with poor Russian emigrants. Sascha, an all-A student, has become fluent in German, as well as English and French, is determined to that "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps," and is doing pretty well, despite numerous obstacles. Her "guardian" is a near-illiterate distant cousin of her stepfather, who is now in prison - for killing her mother. And no, I'm not really giving anything away here. Like I said, there's a lot of very serious, messy, dysfunctional s**t going on here. But I think I'll stop here. BROKEN GLASS PARK was Russian-German Alina Bronsky's first book, and apparently created quite a sensation over in Germany when it was first published several years back, even winning some prizes. Imagine if Holden Caulfield were a girl, only much harder, tougher. Now transplant him to present day Germany and have Sam Peckinpah write his story. Very highly recommended.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Dec 3, 2019 |
A gritty, contemporary coming-of-age story with themes of friendship, domestic violence, loss, retribution and restitution. 17-year-old Sascha, a Russian émigré to Germany, makes an interesting and unpredictable first-person narrator. She is street-smart, intimidating and fearless. She is also, at times, squeamish, vulnerable and naïve. Sometimes she acts mature beyond her years and other times is strangely childlike, veering off into unexpected moments of self destruction, promiscuity, mania and depression. Sascha’s narrative voice is fantastic. One of piercing honesty, imbued with both a gentle love (for her siblings) and a barely contained rage (against her mother’s murderer).

I give Bronsky full marks for creating such a fascinating character in Sascha. The plot is where the story struggles. At times the plot is disjointed, meandering and off-pace. This works okay to depict an individual (Sascha) spinning out of control, but some events seem to have been included more for shock value than as events for logical plot development. That being said, Bronsky does pack a lot into this story. While I found Sascha’s relationship with the newspaper editor Volker and his son Felix to be rather unusual, I felt real compassion for the characters, including Sascha’s Russian aunt Maria, who struggles to adapt to life in Germany. Laced with wicked humour and smart dialogue, the end result is an uneven story that shines because of its compelling characters. For a debut novel, Bronsky provides a young, edgy, smart talking voice that is shouting to be heard.

Definitely looking forward to reading more of Bronsky's books. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Mar 5, 2019 |
Broken Glass Park has many of the elements I love to find in fiction: believably unbelievable characters, vivid settings, and situations that feel real and relevant. Perhaps it was Bronsky's success in creating settings and people that made her narrative feel weak: I felt the book lacked structure. Though Bronsky packs in lots of events and interesting scenes, I came away feeling I'd read a portrait rather than a novel with a beginning and an end. That's not always a bad thing, I suppose, but I found the book a little disappointing because I thought more shape would have made it a very, very good (and absolutely devastating) book rather than just a good and memorable book.

(Europa Editions was kind enough to provide me with a signed copy of Broken Glass Park at Book Expo America.)

(I wrote about the book on my blog here.) ( )
  LizoksBooks | Dec 15, 2018 |
This is Bronsky's first novel, and it shows. It opens wonderfully: "Sometimes I think I'm the only one in our neighborhood with any worthwhile dreams. I have two, and there's no reason to be ashamed of either one. I want to kill Vadim. And I want to write a book about my mother. I already have a title: The Story of an Idiotic Redheaded Woman Who Would Still Be Alive If Only She Had Listened To Her Smart Older Daughter."

Bronsky created a wonderful narrative voice for Sacha, the "smart older daughter." When the novel opens, Sacha's mother has been murdered by her stepfather, and Sacha, with her two younger siblings, living in an impoverished immigrant area of Berlin, must cope as she deals with her anger and her grief. Unfortunately, the book just doesn't seem to hold together. It wandered a lot, as if Bronsky wasn't quite sure where she wanted to take Sacha, and included Sacha having a fairly creepy relationship with a middle-aged journalist. Despite some good parts, this was basically an unsatisfactory read.

2 1/2 generous stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Jan 16, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alina Bronskyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mohr, TimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Galina, Leonid, and Michael.

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Sometimes I think I'm the only one in our neighborhood with any worthwhile dreams.
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In this "riveting debut" a Russian teenager living in Berlin dreams of taking revenge on the man who killed her mother--"A stark, moving tale of resiliency" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). A finalist for the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize Now an award-winning motion picture Seventeen-year-old Sascha Naimann was born in Moscow, but now lives in Berlin with her two younger siblings. She is precocious, independent, streetwise, and ever since her stepfather Vadim murdered her mother several months ago, an orphan. Unlike most of her peers, Sascha doesn't dream of escaping the grim housing project where they live. Sascha's dreams of writing a novel about her beautiful but naïve mother . . . and of taking Vadim's life. In a voice that is candid and self-confident, by turns childlike and mature, Sascha relates the internal struggle between those forces that can destroy us, and those that lead us out of sorrow and back to life. Broken Glass Park goes straight to the heart of what it means to be young, alive, and conscious in these first decades of the new millenium. "A gripping portrayal of life on the margins of society." --Freundin magazine (Germany)

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From Europa Editions:

Russian-born Alina Bronsky has been the subject of constant praise and debate since her debut novel, Broken Glass Park, was published in Germany in 2008. She has been hailed as a literary prodigy and her novel as “an explosive debut” (Emma Magazine). Now, Broken Glass Park makes its first appearance in English in Tim Mohr’s masterful translation.

The heroine of this engrossing and thoroughly contemporary novel is seventeen-year-old Sascha Naimann. Sascha was born in Moscow, but now lives in Berlin with her two younger siblings and, until recently, her mother. She is precocious, independent, street-wise, and, since her stepfather murdered her mother several months ago, an orphan. Unlike most of her companions, she doesn’t dream of escaping from the tough housing project where they live. Sascha’s dreams are different: she longs to write a novel about her beautiful but naïve mother and she wants to end the life of Vadim, the man who brutally murdered her. Sascha’s story, as touching as any in recent literature, is that of a young woman consumed by two competing impulses, one celebrative and redemptive, the other murderous. In a voice that is candid and self-confident, at times childlike and at others all too mature, Sascha relates the universal and timeless struggle between those forces that can destroy us, and those that lead us back from sorrow and pain to life itself. Germany’s Freundin Magazine called Broken Glass Park “a gripping portrayal of life on the margins of society.” But Sascha’s story does not remain on the margins; it goes straight to the heart of what it means to be young, alive, and conscious in these first decades of the new century.
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