Summary and book reviews of Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky

Broken Glass Park

by Alina Bronsky

Broken Glass Park
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Mar 2010, 366 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

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About this Book

Book Summary

An engrossing and thoroughly contemporary novel on what it means to be young, alive, and conscious in these first decades of the new century.

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.

Excerpt
Broken Glass Park

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. Most of the people who live around here don’t have any dreams at all. I’ve asked. And the dreams of the ones who do have them are so pathetic that if I were in their shoes I’d rather not have any.

Anna’s dream, for instance, is to marry rich. Her dream man would be a judge in his mid-thirties, and, fingers crossed, not too terribly ugly.

Anna is seventeen, same as I am, and she says she’d get married immediately if a guy ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About the Book

Sascha Naimann 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 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...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Alina Bronsky's Broken Glass Park is one of the most thought-provoking works of literature I've read in a long time, and with her remarkable ability to communicate emotion with precision and intent, Bronsky creates just that - literature... Throughout the entire novel, there are no wasted words in Bronsky's writing and her dialogue is both poignant and raw. I am so delighted that this book was translated into English (from the German) and with such a strong debut, I'm looking forward to what Alina Bronsky comes up with next.   (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).

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Media Reviews

Emma Magazine

An explosive debut.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Crisp writing, Sascha's smart and believable voice, and a fabulous translation all make the book vibrant... I highly recommend Broken Glass Park.

Kirkus Reviews

A lively debut novel with a cheerfully cynical narrator...a touching story, both tough and tender.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [A] riveting debut ... a stark, moving tale of resiliency and survival.

Library Journal

Starred Review. 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.

K├Âlner Stadtrevue

Surprising, poetic, extremely well-crafted ... recalls the narrative art of Zadie Smith.

Der Spiegel

The most exciting new arrival of the season.

Modern Zeiten

Youthful, fast-paced, at times sad, never sugarcoated. Broken Glass Park tells the story of a marvelous reawakening.

Focus (Germany)

The literature industry has a new prodigy! Bronsky is an immense talent

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Beyond the Book

The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize
Alina Bronsky's debut novel Broken Glass Park was originally published in 2008 by Kiepenheuer & Witsch under the German title Scherbenpark. It was immediately well received and nominated for one of Europe's most prestigious literary awards, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize.

The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize is named after the beloved Austrian poet and author, Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1973) who is known internationally for her works Der gute Gott von Manhattan, a radio play, and Malina, a novel. She is recognized as a "woman of letters" as she studied philosophy, German language & literature and psychology, and was a member of the Gruppe 47 a literary association that included Heinrich Böll, Paul Celan, ...

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