My Grandmother's Braid

My Grandmother's Braid

3.64 (626 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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From the acclaimed author of The Hottest Dishes Of The Tartar Cuisine "a cruel comic romp ends as a surprisingly winning story of hardship and resilience" (The New Yorker).

Max lives with his grandparents in a residential home for refugees in Germany. When his grandmother--a terrifying, stubborn matriarch and a former Russian primadonna--moved them from the Motherland it was in search of a better life. But she is not at all pleased with how things are run in Germany: the doctors and teachers are incompetent, the food is toxic, and the Germans are generally untrustworthy.

His grandmother has been telling Max that he is an incompetent, clueless weakling since he was a child and she'd spend the day sitting in the back of his classroom to be sure he came to no harm. While he may be a dolt in his grandmother's eyes, Max is bright enough to notice that his stoic and taciturn grandfather has fallen hopelessly in love with their neighbor, Nina. When a child is born to Nina that is the spitting image of Max's grandfather, things come to a hilarious if dramatic head. Everybody will have to learn to defend themselves from Max's all-powerful grandmother.

Alina Bronsky writes of family dysfunction and machinations with a droll and biting humor, a tremendous ear for dialog, and a generous heart that is forgiving of human weakness. While Max's grandmother recalls the outrageously nasty Rosa from Bronsky's best-selling book, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, this is a more tender and moving family portrait. Here the best-selling and internationally renowned author, while never abandoning her trademark and razor-sharp wit, tells a family story through a young boy's eyes. Max, over the course of the story, will appreciate that people's questionable behaviour may often be motivated by sadness.

"Irony, subtle humor, fascinating characters. A book that, after you finish it, you immediately want to start to read again."--Stuttgarter Zeitung

"Uplifting, surprising, spot on."--NDR Radio
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 132 x 208 x 15mm | 181g
  • English
  • 1609456459
  • 9781609456450
  • 1,872,812

Review quote

"Bronsky has a Dickensian flair for writing about miserable children--or, rather, the miseries of childhood."--Vulture

"Alina Bronsky brilliantly keeps the mood funny and uplifting throughout with quirky characters and irreverent humor. My Grandmother's Braid celebrates the power of forgiveness and the strength of the human spirit."--Apple Books, Book of the Month

"[Alina Bronsky] is at her best when evoking family dysfunction and powerful, mean old women, and both aspects are promised here [ . . . ] Sounds like a riot, as ever."--Lit Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2021

"My Grandmother's Braid is written in a style that seems at turns facetious and tragic; one finds themselves snorting with laughter during the most inappropriate moments [ . . . ] This book is funny, maddening, and surprisingly sentimental and compassionate. It seems incredible to flip through the one hundred and fifty or so pages that comprise this novel and realize how much there is still to talk about."--Barbara Halla, Asymptote

"Bronsky's comic take on grandmother makes way for empathy [ . . . ] Bronsky depicts challenges the ragtag band of characters is up against through gritty city scenes and no-bones-about-it biases. The world of this novel is small, but densely packed with humorous pathos."--Mari's Book Reviews

"This is a novel about a dysfunctional family and the weakness of the human spirit, written with biting humor, fabulous dialogue, and a good deal of heart. A slim novel that has the power to surprise us when we're least expecting it."--Heaven Ali

"Thrilling and moving in equal measure."--Berliner Zeitung

"A marvellous tragicomedy told with such lightness as if the author were hovering a few inches above the ground."--Sächsische Zeitung

"Bronsky is not only a master of the unwritten, but also a magician of perspective and, most importantly, of empathy towards her characters."--Die Tageszeitung

"Alina Bronsky has written a little masterpiece. Filled with dark humor, at times cynical, My Grandmother's Braid is an extraordinarily readable novel, rich in dialogue, and extremely entertaining."--Gießener Allgemeine
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About Alina Bronsky

Alina Bronksy is the author of Broken Glass Park (Europa, 2010); The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine (Europa, 2011), named a Best Book of 2011 by The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly; Just Call Me Superhero (Europa, 2014), and Baba Dunja's Last Love (Europa, 2016). Born in Yekaterinburg, an industrial town at the foot of the Ural Mountains in central Russia, Bronsky now lives in Berlin.
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Rating details

626 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 19% (119)
4 40% (250)
3 29% (183)
2 10% (63)
1 2% (11)
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