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Booklush: "What struck me immediately about The Hottest Dishes was the strength of the narrator’s voice."

Date: May 20 2011

What struck me immediately about The Hottest Dishes was the strength of the narrator’s voice. This is a book I was not expecting to like, a book I thought I would end up reading out of obligation, but as it turns out, I was hooked right from the start. This is one of the most compelling voices I’ve come across in fiction. The narrator, Rosa, is at once hilarious and infuriating, overbearing yet sympathetic, but above all, unreliable as a narrator. This is her reality, her version of the truth, that one comes to understand she truly believes. She’s not lying to deceive the readers; in her mind, this is the way things happened. Rosa harbors any number of self-delusions, many of which are unintentionally funny. In spite of her meddlesome ways, I do believe that Rosa does want the best for her family — it’s just that she believes she’s the only person who knows what’s best. Everyone else is an idiot in her eyes. And you know what? As someone who often slips into this mindset, I totally get her (I like to think I’m not overbearing per se as I don’t really care what people do with their lives, but if it’s something that affects me and my work, I definitely fall into the dammit do I have to do everything around here? category because I expect things a certain way). Love her or hate her (or more likely, something in between), you have to admit, she feels like a real person, her character is that well-drawn and distinct, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading Alina Bronsky’s other novel, Broken Glass Park.

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