Rosa Achmetowna is the outrageously mischievous narrator of this rollicking family saga from the author of Broken Glass Park.
When Rosa discovers that her seventeen- year-old daughter, “stupid Sulfia,” is pregnant by an unknown man she does everything to thwart the pregnancy, employing a variety of folkloric home remedies. But despite her best efforts the baby, Aminat, is born nine months later at Soviet Birthing Center Number 134.
Much to Rosa’s surprise and delight, dark-eyed Aminat is a Tartar through and through and instantly becomes the apple of her grandmother’s eye. While her good for nothing husband Kalganow spends his days feeding pigeons and contemplating death at the city park, Rosa wages an epic struggle to wrestle Aminat away from Sulfia, whom she considers a woefully inept mother.
When Aminat, now a wild and willful teenager, catches the eye of a sleazy German cookbook writer researching Tartar cuisine, Rosa is quick to broker a deal that will guarantee all three women a passage out of the Soviet Union. But as soon as they are settled in the West, the uproariously dysfunctional ties that bind mother, daughter and grandmother begin to fray.
Told with sly humor and an anthropologist’s eye for detail, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is the story of three unforgettable women whose destinies are tangled up in a family dynamic that is at turns hilarious and tragic. Russian-born Alina Bronsky gives readers a moving portrait of the devious limits of the will to survive.
Alina Bronsky is the author of Broken Glass Park, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, named a Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, Just Call Me Superhero and Baba Dunja's Last Love. Born in Yekaterinburg, an industrial town at the foot of the Ural Mountains in central Russia, Bronsky relocated with her family to Berlin when she was thirteen. Author's Web site (in German)