Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Broken Glass Park

A review that appears in the latest issue of Library Journal...

Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky

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 interacts with the characters that populate her world and 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.

Broken Glass Park 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.

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