The German Book Office
pick for May is Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky, translated by Tim Mohr (Europa Editions, $15, 9781933372969/1933372966).
The GBO described the book this way: "The heroine of this engrossing and thoroughly contemporary novel is 17-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."
Alina Bronsky, a pseudonym, was born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, in 1978 and now lives in Frankfurt. Broken Glass Park, her first novel, was nominated for the Bachmann Prize. Mohr, who has been a club DJ in Berlin and a staff editor at Playboy magazine, is at work on a history of the punk music scene in East Germany.