“The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine” by Alina Bronsky

My friend of New Century Reading recommended The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky. She mentioned it was an interesting contrast to Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita, I found this novel had the same kind of staggering, head-tilting, WTF-ness as that Russian classic. It’s a funny, bizarre and tragic story (sometimes all at once) of three generations of Russian women with a Tartar background told by the fearsome and boggling grandmother, Rosalinda who was hateful, but not necessarily without charm, or at least wit, however lacerating:

Sulfia wasn’t very gifted. In fact, to be honest, I’d say she was rather stupid. And yet somehow she was my daughter–worse still, my only daughter…

But I also felt sorry for her…This daughter I did have was deformed and bore no resemblance to her mother. She was short–she only came up to my shoulders. She had no figure whatsoever. She had small eyes, and a crooked mouth. And, as I said, she was stupid. She was already seventeen years old, too, so there was little chance she would get any smarter.

But as the book goes on, we learn that perhaps Sulfia isn’t as stupid as Rosa thinks, and perhaps Rosa is not the most reliable narrator. Bizarre, but entertaining.

Comments are closed.