Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Publisher Spotlight: Europa Editions Interview with Alina Bronsky

Recently I had the honor of interviewing author Alina Bronsky, whose new book The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is due out next month from Europa Editions.
1. I talked to you last year about your first book, Broken Glass Park. How has the past year been for you? How has your life changed since the publication of your first book, and now, your second, the very wonderful The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine?

A: Thank you Marie - I‘m happy you liked The Hottest Dishes.

My life sort of changed completely after the publication of my first book. In the first 12 months after Broken Glass Park came out I was kept pretty busy with more than 150 readings and events in Germany. I quit my job and wrote my next novel mostly during the train rides. I had invitations from all over the world and went on a 2-week-long book tour in the US. The touring and events continue even now, after the publication of my second book. However I had to reduce the quantity of events radically because I need more time for my family and for the next novel.

The great thing about The Hottest Dishes is that readers react so passionately to it. It seems to be a much more polarizing book than my first: readers love or hate it with all their hearts and react even more emotionally than they did to Broken Glass Park.

2. Rosalinda is a fascinating literary creation. Where in your imagination did she come from? Why did you choose her as the narrator of this story?

A: Rosalinda is not a product of my imagination. She is alive. She represents a whole generation in the former Soviet Union. I know lots of women like her, and readers often agree, saying that Rosalinda remindes them of their own mother or grandmother. I chose her as my narrator because I liked the idea of ambiguity. Rosalinda sees everything in her own unique way and does not accept any other point of view. The reader starts to distrust her very soon and to develop his own interpretation of the story.

3. Hottest Dishes is really different from Broken Glass Park. What do the two books have in common? Why did you tell this particular story as a more a satire or black comedy?

A: It‘s difficult for me to compare my books - it‘s like comparing one‘s children. Both books have heroines who live between worlds, and who are not really settled anywhere. The touch of black comedy comes thanks solely to Rosalinda. She does not allow herself to get depressed and she describes even the tragic parts of her life in a way that can make you laugh.

4. What themes do you address in Hottest Dishes? Why were these themes important to you?

A: Well, the answer is always the same - identity, love, failure, loss. What else is important in life?

5. Is Hottest Dishes a Russian book, or a German book like you've been quoted as describing Broken Glass Park? What do these distinctions mean? Do they matter?

A. I don‘t think such distinctions matter any more. It makes me very happy to see that so different people all over the world can enjoy or be deeply touched by the stories of Sascha or Rosalinda. These heroines seem to have something both exotic and universal to them.

6. Who are your literary influences? Whom do you like to read? What are you reading now?

A: I think every book I have ever read influences my way of writing. I read everything I can get my hands on, and I mean everything literally. I just finished 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. Yesterday I started Matched by Ally Condie.

Ms. Bronsky, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. And since this interview marks the first time I've had the chance to interview an author twice, my thanks are double, too!

More in the Publisher Spotlight series on Europa Editions:
Week One:
Week Two:


Anonymous said...

I pretty well enjoyed this interview. WoW! I liked the details of her response to the first question - quitting her job and concentrating on her next novel and writing during train rides...!

Zibilee said...

I like that her books deal with the same topics, but in very different vehicles and packages. Her description of the second book being dark really draws me in. This is a book that I will be buying as soon as it comes out. Thanks for the very interesting and revealing interview, Alina and Marie!

ImageNations said...

thanks for this interview Marie. It's always fun to read interviews of authors.

Kathleen said...

Great interview Marie. It is always nice to hear more from authors. I always think that the second book is the hardest one to write and this interview kind of confirms that for me. It is hard to adjust to the schedule of being an already published author and make time to write that second book. And then of course you have all of the expectations too after already being published.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this fantastic interview! I can't wait for the book to be released.