cover image Broken Glass Park

Broken Glass Park

Alina Bronsky, , trans. from the German by Tim Mohr. . Europa, $15 (221pp) ISBN 978-1-933372-96-9

In her riveting debut, Bronsky gives us Sascha Naimann, a 17-year-old Russian immigrant living in Germany who narrates a brutal story with a sharp, canny voice. Sascha is determined to kill her stepfather, Vadim, who murdered her mother, but with Vadim in prison and social workers hovering, Vadim's cousin, Maria, arrives to care for Sascha and her younger stepsiblings. A puff piece in the local paper about Vadim's supposed reformation sends a livid Sascha to the newspaper office, where she meets Volker Trebur, an editor who, having briefly known Sascha's mother, offers to make things right. Sascha quickly takes him up on the offer, moving in to Volker's guestroom and beginning an intense involvement with Volker's family—particularly his teenage son. When that flames out, Sascha ends up in “broken glass park,” the dangerous area in her neighborhood where drugs, booze, and rough sex prevail. Sascha's hunger for life shines through her relentless fight to leave behind a painful childhood—a struggle complicated by an unexpected twist in the final act—making for a stark, moving tale of resiliency and survival. (Apr.)