The Fieriest Dishes of Tartar Cuisine
Die schärfsten Gerichte der tatarischen Küche

alina bronsky die schaerfsten gerichte der tatarischen kueche
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
July 2010 / 336pp
Fiction

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review

Bronsky’s first novel, Broken Glass Park, was described by Publishers Weekly as a ‘riveting debut’; her growing fanbase will not be disappointed with this moving and sparklingly funny follow-up.

Rosalinda is the best grandmother in the world, not to mention the best mother, wife, hostess, organiser, and bestlooking woman ever. What is more, she is a Tartar who grew up in an orphanage, lives in the Soviet Union, and knows how to look after herself. Her husband Kalganov is sadly inadequate, as is her daughter Sulfia. The one fails to abuse his position as a worker’s representative to Rosalinda’s satisfaction; the other is ‘scrawny’, timid, and far too sensibly dressed. Both live in mortal fear of the monstrous Rosalinda, who can’t understand why no one appreciates her ‘help’.

At last, when seventeen-year-old Sulfia gives birth to a daughter, Rosalinda finds someone worthy of her efforts. Rosalinda soon takes over the little girl Animat’s upbringing and everything – of course – goes swimmingly until one day Sulfia moves out of their shared apartment and takes her child with her. A monumental battle between the two over Animat begins in earnest.

Only Rosalinda overdosing on sleeping pills prevents Sulfia and Animat from leaving the country altogether, and Rosalinda then decides that Sulfia must marry a foreigner so that she, Sulfia and Animat can experience a ‘better life’. She settles on Dieter, to whom Sulfia has taken a liking, but Dieter is more interested in the pretty but pre-pubescent Animat. The magnificent Rosalinda’s intrigues lead to the successful relocation of the three members of the family to Frankfurt and she exploits Dieter’s interest in Animat as a means of securing his marriage to Sulfia. In Germany, Rosalinda rediscovers her youth, but this proves to be at the expense of Sulfia’s health and Animat’s wellbeing.

In this hilarious tale, we encounter themes of food shortages and corruption that locate it unmistakeably in the Eastern bloc, but the true strength of Bronsky’s novel lies in the larger-than-life first-person narrator Rosalinda, who exerts the same fascination over the reader as over her unfortunate family – the reader, though, has the privilege of being able to laugh. The writing is smart and pithy, full of sentences that perfectly and comically turn against themselves, confounding the reader’s expectations. Dazzling.

press quotes

‘The discovery of the season … She decks human tragedies in light, entertaining literature’– freundin

‘A great new talent.’– FOCUS.de

‘Bronsky is a strong, breathless writer, who deals out phrases like uppercuts.’– Welt am Sonntag

‘A literature with an incredible narrative flow… I found the text enormously inspiring.’– Iljoma Mangold, Jury of Ingeborg Bachmann Prize 2008 on Scherbenpark)

about the author

Alina Bronsky, born in 1978 in Yekaterinburg, Russia, spent her childhood on the Asiatic side of the Urals and her youth in Germany. She now lives in Frankfurt with her family. Widely acclaimed by critics, her debut novel Broken Glass Park became a bestseller and has been published in the U.S. to rave reviews. Der Spiegel has heralded Alina Bronsky as ‘the season’s most exciting newcomer’.

Previous works include:
Scherbenpark (Broken Glass Park, 2008)

rights information

Translation rights sold to:
USA (Europa Editions)

Translation rights available from:
Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch GmbH & Co. KG
Bahnhofsvorplatz 1
50667 Cologne
Tel: +49 221 376 8522
Email: ibrandt@kiwi-verlag.de
Contact: Iris Brandt 
www.kiwi-verlag.de 

Kiepenheuer & Witsch was founded in 1949 in Cologne by Gustav Kiepenheuer and Joseph Caspar Witsch. The press’s early authors included Joseph Roth, Heinrich Böll and Erich Maria Remarque. Today Kiepenheuer & Witsch continues to publish leading contemporary German, Austrian and Swiss writers, as well as international authors in translation. Its list includes among many others the book prize winner Kathrin Schmidt, Frank Schätzing, Uwe Timm, David Foster Wallace and J.D. Salinger. Its non-fiction subjects cover sociology, psychology, history and biography. Kiepenheuer & Witsch is part of the Holtzbrinck Group.

translation assistance

This book is outside of the five year window for guaranteed assistance with English language translation. We suggest approaching the relevant funding body for an informal conversation on the possibility of support. Please refer to to our recommendations page for books that can be funded.

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All recommendations from Autumn 2010