Broken Glass Park is a story told from the point of view of seventeen year old Sascha Naimann.
Synopsis from the publisher:
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.
Sascha, the main character, may only be seventeen, but she is gritty, feisty and angry enough to make the reader question whether or not we should root for her. She is described in the book as "prickly" and "defensive" but we catch glimpses of her softness, especially towards her two younger siblings, that make us fall in love with her. Sascha struggles between her age and her maturity, as she was thrust into adulthood way before the murder of her mother. I couldn't help but sympathize for her situation - she watched her mother be gunned down by her stepfather, Vadim, who was nothing but awful to all three of the children - but at the same time she takes risks and is at times utterly cruel to the rest of the world. Maybe she feels she has the right, since the world has been nothing but cruel to her.
I have to share the first few lines with you:
"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 Readheaded Woman Who Would Still Be Alive If Only She Had Listened To Her Smart Oldest Daughter."
Broken Glass Park is an amazing debut novel unlike anything I had ever read before. This is one of those books that I never would have discovered if I didn't have Alison's Book Marks. Many thanks to Regal Literary for bringing Alina Bronsky into my world!
Powerful writing, compelling characters, and a storyline that kept the pages turning. What more could a reader ask for?
Visit the Europa website for sample chapters, news and reviews.
About the Author:
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.
About the Book:
Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky
Paperback: 366 pages
Publisher: Europa Editions (March 30, 2010)
*FTC Statement: A review copy of this book was provided by the publicist.