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Broken Glass Park Paperback – March 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781933372969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933372969
  • ASIN: 1933372966
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Growing up in a rough city neighborhood in Germany, Sacha, 17, is a brilliant student, the only Russian immigrant in her elite Catholic high school. But everything is on hold when her brutal stepfather murders her mother. Sacha’s obsession is to kill him, in prison or out, even as she nurtures her little brother and sister in the violent projects. A lot happens in this first novel, but more than the fast plot, it is the striking narrative voice that will grab readers. Translated from the German, the present-tense narrative nails the contemporary teen voice—wry, furious, hilarious, heartbreaking, “wired but wrecked at the same time.” Rooted in the immigrant experience (struggling with a new language, forgetting the old one), the coming-of-age story is universal. When a guy threatens to make Sacha’s life a living hell, she says, “Too late; it already is.” Yes, she hates men, and maybe she hates women, too. Her anger makes you laugh and cry. --Hazel Rochman

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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It kept me up till one last night.
Patto
Too many characters and twists that just distracted from the meat and potatoes of the story, which I found was quite under-developed.
HonestCritic
Bronsky has written in a fresh voice, a moving ,interesting story.
momwifesq

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm always on the lookout for new books from Europa Editions - and when I saw this one, I snapped it up.

Alina Bronsky's first novel is hard to put down. It kept me up till one last night. There are so many books out there about murder and violence, but this story starts after the crime. Sascha watched her ex-stepfather Vadim shoot and kill her mother. Now she's seventeen and biding her time till Vadim gets out of jail, so she can kill him.

Her nine-year-old brother Anton thinks she has a good idea. He was there too. So was the toddler of the family, Alissa. They live in the Russian ghetto of Berlin, shunned by most of their neighbors for having such bad luck, but lovingly cooked for and cared for by their fat Russian cousin Maria.

Sascha is brash, angry, fearless, oddly witty, often kind - and brilliant at math, chess and languages. She's not interested in drugs or alcohol, but she sometimes makes aggressive use of sex. In a strange way, even at her most self-destructive, she's working intelligently at repairing her personal damage. Totally likeable, she hardly knows how to handle it when people do like her.

There are lots of other wonderful characters, too, flawed in ways that only make them more interesting. Despite the plethora of broken heads, hearts and windows in this book, the dialog is often quite funny and the mood curiously upbeat.

I have to assume the translation is excellent, because Alina Bronsky comes across as a very fine writer with a truly original turn of mind. Hope she's at work on another book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nadia on April 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story started off strong, but then just went nowhere. It's a story that had potential, but then just gave up trying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Criticalthinker on February 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll let every other reviewer reiterate the plot of Bronsky's book (whether they have read it or not...too often these Amazon reviews are nothing more than regurgitated blurbs). What I can tell you about Broken Glass Park can be summed up in a handful of sentences:

It is above all else a coming-of-age novel, with a secondary theme of redemption. There is surprisingly little real-time plot, and the narrative follows a standard-template story arc. The author has achieved a unique, engaging -- if not always likable -- voice in her first-person narrator Sacha. Characterizations are uneven, inconsistent and largely shallow, though that lack of complexity is in keeping with Sasha's voice and experiences. There is a subtle and wicked humor here that makes me wish I could read it in the original German.

In short, this is not a perfect work, but it's an impressive first novel and a worthwhile read. It was slow to pull me in, but it had me after about 50 pages. I had to sit down and finish it in one go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LH422 VINE VOICE on March 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Sascha Naimann is a street-smart orphan, left alone with her younger brother and sister when her stepfather shoots her mother. Sascha's main goal in life is to shoot her stepfather, Vadim, when he is released from prison. The children are now cared for by one of Vadim's cousins, though Sascha, at seventeen, clearly wields the power in the household. Sascha is one of the few in her predominantly-Russian housing complex who speaks German.

Generally I enjoyed this book, though it could have used a stronger plot. Aside from killing Vadim, Sascha's life is scattered, as is the action. I felt like the plot was wavering. Bronsky's book does show the remarkably power that precocious teenage girls can wield over men, though I did find Sascha's relationship with the newspaper editor to be creepy, at best.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on April 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a hard-knock life for 17-year old Sascha Naiman. Born in Russia she moved with her mother, step-father and two younger siblings from Russia to what is effectively a low-income apartment block in Berlin mostly populated with other Russian immigrants. She is also an orphan after witnessing the brutal murder of her mother by her step-father Vadim. The theme of the book is set in the opening paragraph: "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 Oldest Daughter. Or maybe that's more of a subtitle. But I have plenty of time to figure it out because I haven't started writing yet." After reading that opening paragraph I was hooked.

Broken Glass Park is Alina Bronsky's first novel. Bronsky was born in Yekaterinburg in the Urals and moved with her family to Germany as a teenager. Translated from German, this debut novel really impressed me.

There's a lot to like about Sascha: she's smart, tough, and resilient. She's got moxie and knows it. On the surface she is mature beyond her years. Necessity has dictated that, even when her mother was alive, she was the `adult' in the family. An older cousin has flown in from Russia to supervise the family and keep the children from `protective services', but Sascha remains the glue that keeps her family together. But, all appearances to the contrary, she is still a vulnerable and at times naïve teenager. She may be book smart and street smart but she still cannot help at times looking at the world through some pretty naïve eyes.
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