The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky

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Synopsis

Rosa Achmetowna is the outrageously nasty and wily narrator of this rollicking family saga from the author of Broken Glass Park When she discovers that her seventeen-year-old daughter, “stupid Sulfia,” is pregnant by an unknown man she does everything to thwart the pregnancy, employing a variety of folkloric home remedies. But despite her best efforts the baby, Aminat, is born nine months later at Soviet Birthing Center Number 134. Much to Rosa’s surprise and delight, dark eyed Aminat is a Tartar through and through and instantly becomes the apple of her grandmother’s eye. While her good for nothing husband Kalganow spends his days feeding pigeons and contemplating death at the city park, Rosa wages an epic struggle to wrestle Aminat away from Sulfia, whom she considers a woefully inept mother. When Aminat, now a wild and willful teenager, catches the eye of a sleazy German cookbook writer researching Tartar cuisine, Rosa is quick to broker a deal that will guarantee all three women a passage out of the Soviet Union. But as soon as they are settled in the West, the uproariously dysfunctional ties that bind mother, daughter and grandmother begin to fray.

Told with sly humor and an anthropologist’s eye for detail, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is the story of three unforgettable women whose destinies are tangled up in a family dynamic that is at turns hilarious and tragic. In her new novel, Russian-born Alina Bronsky gives readers a moving portrait of the devious limits of the will to survive.
 

About Alina Bronsky

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About the AuthorAlina Bronsky was born in Yekaterinburg, an industrial town at the foot of the Ural Mountains in central Russia. She moved to Germany when she was thirteen. Her debut novel, Broken Glass Park, was nominated for one of Europe's most important literary awards, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, and was published by Europa Editions in 2010. About the TranslatorTim Mohr spent the 1990s as a club DJ in Berlin and much of the next decade as a staff editor at Playboy magazine, where he worked with such writers as Hunter S. Thompson, Matt Taibbi, and Duff McKagan. He is the translator of Guantanamo, by Dorothea Dieckmann, Wetlands, by Charlotte Roche, and Bronsky's debut novel Broken Glass Park.
 
Published April 26, 2011 by Europa. 275 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine

Publishers Weekly

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Rosa is fundamentally nasty, yes, but she instantly falls in love with Aminat (who coincidentally bears a striking resemblance to Rosa), tries to wrestle Aminat away from Sulfia, and enjoys watching Aminat grow into a wild, willful thing as Rosa and Sulfia kidnap the little girl back and forth.

Feb 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tar...

Kirkus Reviews

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There’s a moment in Alina Bronsky’s The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine when Rosa, the book’s comically antiheroic narrator, tries to restore order to a chaotic situation.

May 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tar...

Star Tribune

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The character of Rosalinda is eccentric, larger-than-life, and not entirely reliable. But that doesn't make her story any less poignant.

May 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tar...

Los Angeles Times

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Poor Sulfia, 17, lives with Rosa and her father, Kalganow, in a communal apartment somewhere in Russia.

Jul 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tar...

Macleans

Rosa is so fixated on the survival of her family and so eager to escape their life in the Soviet Union that she uses her own granddaughter as bait, to snag the affections of a creepy German food writer who is researching ethnic cuisines.

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tar...

The New Yorker

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Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tar...

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Not only is The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine one of the finest examples of dark humor writing to come out this year, but translator Tim Mohr’s work from the novel’s original German is done so well that you practically expect English to be the first language of author Alina Bronsky.

May 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hottest Dishes of the Tar...

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