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The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,930 ratings  ·  340 reviews
Rosa Achmetowna is the outrageously nasty and wily narrator of this rollicking family saga from the author of Broken Glass Park. When she 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 ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Europa Editions (first published 2010)
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Joey Gremillion No, I don't think that you are reading too much into the ending. Her delusions of grandeur seem to be getting worse.

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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,930 ratings  ·  340 reviews


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Ms. Smartarse
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who won't take it too seriously
Recommended to Ms. Smartarse by: Ema
This book has been translated into English, as The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine

These days, most horrific parenting tales are told from the view of the victim. Just imagine the terrible things those poor kids have had to suffer! As soon as anyone even tries to give the parent's view, people's minds just explode ... especially after reading a certain type of articles, in The Wall Street Journal.

If we had known you were going to be a writer, we'd have been better parents

Rosalinda Achmetovna is one such tyrannical mother, though obviously not from where she stands.
...more
Jola
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rosalinda Achmetowna about her husband, Kalganow:
‘that amoeba, that spineless creature, the venom-less jellyfish’
‘tarantula’


Rosalinda Achmetowna about her daughter, Sulfia:
‘The ugliest girl on the block’
‘A woman who looked like a mangy old crow’
‘Sulfia had about as much drive as a garden slug’


Rosalinda Achmetowna about herself:
‘I looked beautiful and eternally young’
‘If I really wanted to, I could teach even a guinea pig to cook’
‘Everything I did was significant: I was a role model after all’


Th
...more
Mary
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lately, I seem to be reading a lot of "unreliable narrator" fiction featuring women with deteriorating minds, and I’m not sure what this says about me, but I could not put this book down!

Rosalinda is the ultimate mother, grandmother and mother-in-law from hell. She’s arrogant, vain, abrasive, highly meddling, and dangerously abusive (view spoiler)
...more
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
A zany, propulsive novel about Rosa, a middle-aged mother and eventually grandmother in late-Soviet Russia, whose emotional manipulativeness, delusions of grandeur, and larger-than-life ego are so compelling that her unreliable narration destabilizes and entertains you at the same time as you’re confusedly rooting for her.

My full Booktube review here: https://youtu.be/DQ1VBoXnEb8
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
This started funny but alas Rosa reminded me so much of my grandmother that it was at points at bit frightening... Still a great read and will certainly pick up more by this author.
Trish
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Snippy, snarky, and wholly original, the voice of Rosalinda Achmetowna will stay with you long after you close this book. First published in German in 2010, this Booker-nominated bestseller explodes with personality, wit, and the wisdom of an older woman.

Life in Russia was never easy, but Rosalinda thought her daughter, Sulfia, made life especially hard for herself. In the time-honored way of mothers everywhere, she hectored, berated, cursed, and finally resorted to direct intervention in her at
...more
Lisa
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I loved Bronsky's Broken Glass Park and this is even better. Such a talented writer--and translator, too! Rosa's becoming one of my favorite characters in recent history. The closest at being the protagonist in this Russian soap opera, she is the master of delusion...or is she? Often cruel, manipulative, and mean to her stupid daughter, Sulfia (great name, by the way) and vapid husband, I can't dislike this woman. In a way, her explanations for the way she raised and treats her daughter (then gr ...more
Vonia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mmars
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When I close the cover of a book, I rarely have a contemporary book pass all my questions of whether it was good fiction.

Characterization? Check. Larger-than-life Rosa, written in first-person, IS the story. She shapes, or attempts to shape, everyone around her into her own image resulting in the book's other characters playing off her in predictable and unpredictable ways.

Story/Plot? Check. Unique, compelling, imaginative. Yes, stripped down, it's just the story of one woman's family and what
...more
Daisy
Хорошо... ( I just learned how to write with Cyrillic characters on my phone...)

I almost loved this and indeed, it was better than Broken Glass Park, but I was disappointed when it was over. The beginning, which takes place from 1978 on in the Soviet Union, is satisfying and the characters are unique. Rosalinda, the heroine, is direct and controlling and deluded and vain, a no-nonsense woman who is not always wrong. Her relationships are unusual and her misadventures are interesting--but only a
...more
Stephen Durrant
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the messages of this delightful AND disturbing book is that self-centered monsters often not only survive but somehow thrive. With a trail of destruction behind her, Rosa, the terribly unreliable first-person narrator of "The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine," does just fine . . . or almost so, except for a few minor shadows of guilt. The Russian-born young German-language writer Alina Bronsky has created in this novel, an unforgettable character who might remind you, albeit in an exa ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic and I will say why... I read another review describing the main character Rosa as a battle-ax of a woman, apt description. Inside the mind of Rosa we see a woman controlling her world and everyone in it. "Stupid Sulfia"( her 17 year old daughter) gets pregnant and immediately Rosa resorts to home remedies to "fix the problem". Aminat is born, despite her grandmother's folkloric concoctions and soon becomes the apple of Rosa's eye. Aminat looks just like her grandmother sharing in her s ...more
Alta
Apr 05, 2011 added it
Alina Bronsky is a young German novelist who emigrated from the Soviet Union at thirteen, and who is now at her second novel. I had read and enjoyed her first novel, Broken Glass Park, which had given her international fame, but I am often skeptical when it comes to young novelists who become famous too fast and too soon. That’s why I was surprised to see that her second novel, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, is not only better than her first, but that its main character, Rosa Achmetow ...more
Vio
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read somewhere that if you like the way Karl Ove Knausgard writes (I am looking at you, Lavinia!), you can enjoy reading everything he puts on paper, including his shopping lists or so.

This is what/how I felt most of the time while reading Alina Bronsky. Again, this book was also a huge surprise, her writing has power, and, out of the blue, she might just have turned into my favorite woman writer. WOW, right? Yes, yes, I got Meir Shalev flashbacks during the readings and he is my favorite writ
...more
Literary Review The
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
By Marion Wyce

For The Literary Review
Volume 54 "The Rat's Nest"

What about me? That was the question my boyfriend’s ten-year-old brother, J.,
asked approximately three dozen times over the short weekend during which we
saw him recently. If we paid too much attention to other members of the family, if
his mother talked too long about her own interests, if his father nattered on about
his business, first J. would try to nudge his way into the conversation, and when
that failed—when we continued to
...more
L Fleisig
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I picked up Alina Bronsky's The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine with anticipation and a little bit of trepidation. I very much enjoyed Bronsky's first novel, Broken Glass Park and thought it could mark the start of a very promising career. But second novels are challenging, both for the author and for the reader. The author is challenged to live up to the promise of her first work. The reader is challenged by virtue of his or her own heightened expectation and anticipation that the second w ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lit fic lovers - especially w/ "black" humor - book discussion groups
Original review post at Layers of Thought.

3.5 stars actually

A dark modern fable translated from German. It is a literary novel that is tragic and blackly humorous, told by a narrator who is definitely misguided and “unreliable”.

About: Set in Russia in the 1970s, The Hottest Dishes is told in the first person by the self-centered Rosa. It starts with Rosa’s daughter Sulfia becoming pregnant in her early teens and not willing to disclose who the father is. Understandably Rosa is not delighted with
...more
Amy
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"I was a fundamentally generous person, and I valued the interchange between generations. Helping support Sulfia in raising my grandchild didn't bother me at all. Neither did drawing Sulfia's attention to her own frequent mistakes. All I ever did was for her to improve herself."







Perhaps this should be called The Battle Hymn of the Tartar Mother....The narrator of this fast-paced novel is a mother more like Mommie Dearest than June Cleaver. She's actually kind of scary. Yet her witty observations,
...more
Boris Feldman
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
I stayed up past midnight to finish, because I just wanted it to be over.
There were passages that were amusing.
Overall, it was tedious.
I do not understand the hype that has greeted this novel (apart from a great title and cover).
g
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
jess
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, ladyish, 2012
Bronsky brings us the story of three generations of Tartar women in the Soviet Union of 1978 who make their way to Germany through a series of compromises ranging from unfortunate to horrible. The relationships between the woman are painfully strained. The characters fumble through unplanned pregnancies, home abortions, careers, and broken marriages while navigating a shifting political and economic landscape. I needed a translated book for my 2012 reading challenge and I read about this book on ...more
Andrew
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes you pick up a book and the characters slowly emerge on the page and they become a part of your life. In this book the heroine Rosa burst out of the pages , grabs you by the throat , and screams take notice, she is a whirlwind who leaves a trail of emotional devastation in her wake but is a brilliant creation who will remain with me for a while.
Its not a spoiler (as it is in the blurb ) to say that at the beginning of the book Rosa's teenage daughter is inexplicably (to sulfina the daug
...more
Lauren
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: stopped-reading
"Acerbically funny?" Not in my opinion. The narrator is just mean, and her barbs are really obvious. Why did The New Yorker like this?
Shelley
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book gives new meaning to the term control freak. Bronsky has such a unique, fresh voice - she is fast becoming a favourite.
christa
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it
When Rosalinda Achmetowna’s frumpy, stupid and ill-mannered daughter Sulfia gets knocked up, she can’t help but believe that it didn’t happen the traditional way. Who would sleep with Sulfia? No, it must be as Sulfia claims: Something that happened in a dream. Rosa sets out to fix it, using an arsenal of home abortion techniques and finally finds success the old fashioned way -- with a knitting needle. This seems to work, judging from the bloody sheets, but months later Sulfia still seems to be ...more
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky tells the story of three generations of women: Rosalinda (Rosa) Achmetowna; her daughter, Sulfia; and Sulfia’s daughter, Aminat. Their story is told through the voice of Rosa, an unreliable narrator who shares her unvarnished opinions on life, love, marriage, and a host of other issues, including her supposedly good looks and impeccable taste in food and clothes.

Rosa emerges as an unsavory character with a distorted self-image and tyranni
...more
Bernard
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I found this novel compelling for a few reasons.

1. The main character is hilarious, cruel, scheming, practical, delusional and darkly humorous. I love character studies both in novels and on film, and this book delivers one of the best, most intense characters I've come across in a long time. I hated her and was fascinated by her all at the same time, all the while understanding (but not condoning!) her reasons for the actions she takes throughout the novel.

2. I have lately been reading quite a
...more
MacDuff
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
What an amazing book. The story is of Rosa, a Russian woman whose daughter, Sulfia, amounts to nothing. Rosa never misses a chance to remind Sulfia of that, also. Sulfia becomes pregnant early in the story, and it's only when she has her daughter, Aminat, that Rosa falls head over heels in love with her granddaughter. She becomes bound and determined to force Sulfia to stand up and make a life for herself.

The trick with this novel is that the whole thing is told specifically from Rosa's perspec
...more
Liz
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2013
This book was immediately engaging. It has been translated from Russian to English and had some good reviews. It tells the story of three women - a grandmother, her daughter and granddaughter narrated through the sole lens of the grandmother. It is in places warm hearted and has a caustic humour that I enjoyed. It gives some insight into the hard lives of women in Eastern Europe, their poverty and views on life and their absolute desperation to get out of the East and into the West at all costs. ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Reader's Ink: 6. Food! 4 16 Mar 27, 2012 10:16PM  
Reader's Ink: 5. Love, marriage, men, women 4 11 Mar 06, 2012 10:48AM  
Reader's Ink: 4. Parenting ... um ... techniques 3 12 Mar 06, 2012 03:03AM  
Reader's Ink: 2. Rosa and Aminat 7 12 Mar 06, 2012 02:50AM  
Reader's Ink: 7. Goodbye, Rosa 2 9 Mar 01, 2012 04:45PM  
World Literature ...: Introduction - Discussion Topics 2 9 Nov 10, 2011 02:05PM  

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Alina Bronsky was born in Yekaterinburg, an industrial town at the foot of the Ural Mountains in central Russia. She moved to Germany when she was thirteen. Her first novel, Broken Glass Park, was nominated for one of Europe’s most prestigious literary awards, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize.
“I had tried to teach her that nobody should be able to see when you were scared. That nobody should be able to tell when you were uncertain. That you shouldn't show it when you loved someone. And that you smiled with particular affection at someone you hated.” 7 likes
“Communism, my dear," I said when I managed to get hold of a bunch of bananas for hers and let them ripen on the windowsill, given her just one each day so they'd last for a while” 3 likes
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