To answer her question, yes, she is an evil woman. Evil and self-absorbed. The book was far less interesting than I'd hoped. Not one of the characters seems compelling and I didn't get a useful sense of place (this is set in Russia then in Germany).
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it over a weekend. Well worth picking it up and I'll try others by her as well.
Alina Bronsky is a genius. I loved the protagonist, a bitchy, hilarious self-centered Tartar grandmother. At the end it got a little weird and non-satisfying.
This is a page turner that is sad, mysterious, and full of irony. The reader will struggle with their feelings for Rosa, the protagonist. She does and says the unspeakable.
"Darkly humourous and featuring one of the most self-centered, opportunistic mothers in fiction (she's also reliably entertaining, but only because you don't have to live with her), this second novel from Russian-born German author Alina Bronsky is a "hilarious, disturbing, and always irreverent blitz" (Publishers Weekly). Starring the scheming, judgmental Rosa Achmetowna (who of course doesn't see herself that way), it takes place in the former Soviet Union (Rosa and her family are Tartars), though Rosa - when she's not castigating her family members or kidnapping her granddaughter - is trying to move them to Germany. Check it out if you appreciate extreme familial dysfunction and sly humour in your tragicomedies." June 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=645214
We hear this story through the voice of Rosa, but quite early on we realize that she is not a thoroughly trustworthy storyteller. Rosa is egocentric, manipulative, energetic and tireless in working for what she thinks is best for her family. She does dreadful things and yet somehow she is a compelling character, extremely interesting despite the shocking way she rides slipshod over others. Fascinating glimpse into Soviet life and removal into Germany. Darkly funny and engrossing.
This book gives new meaning to the term control freak. Bronsky has such a unique, fresh voice - she is fast becoming a favourite.
Couldn't get into this one. Seemed a little phoney and mean at the same time, so I didn't finish. Life's just too short! :)
This is a superb little story about Rosa a Tartar Mother, wife, and Grandmother from Hell and the people who manage to survive despite her worse intentions! I like her description of her daughter's futher Mother-in-law as the kind of inconsiderate woman who would collapse in a position in which you had to step over her to get to the fridge. Move over Joan Crawford, here comes Rosa.
Humorous and full of captivating details (in ways it reminded me of “Little House of the Prairie”), this memory-bank of a novel lets the reader experience both what life in Russia was like during the ‘80s—the final years of the USSR—and what challenges face immigrants moving to foreign land. Three generations of women are vividly brought to life. The grandmother who tells the story appears over-the-top in her vitriolic tirades and excessive assertiveness, but after a while the reader (this one, at least) appreciates her will and fortitude—and sees it as emblematic of the strength needed to keep families going despite great difficulties. Extremely moving conclusion. A very satisfying and enjoyable read.
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