There is only one type of love that exists in this world. It’s maternal love. It’s the only love that can realistically and factually be proven as unconditional and never-ending. Every other love is an illusion. It’s subject to our interpretations. Of course and unfortunately not everybody in the world experiences maternal love. Regardless, everybody has a mother and a unique relationship with her. Me; I worship the ground my mom walks on. She’s my sister, my best friend, at times my frenemy. Growing up there were days when I wanted to runaway to the other side of the world so I wouldn’t imagine chopping her head off. But let me just say, she never ever forced me to do anything I did not want to do. She always gave me the responsibility to choose, and she supported me through all the choices I’ve made. She’s intelligent, charismatic, loving, and humorous. And I would be blessed to become half the woman she is now…
On the contrary, Rosa, the mother from Alina Bronsky’s The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is everything but supportive and loving. She’s stubborn, defiant, and anything but an ideal wholesome mother. What a monster, a nightmare. She’s so critical and hideously outspoken of her family’s imperfections that the book is a laughing stock. She basks in her glorious precision of detecting flaws and how she’s perfectly exempt from it all because she’s sage. At the same time, however, she masks the family’s inadequacies because societal reputation comes first and foremost. So, you can only imagine how she reacted when she found out that her daughter, Sulfia, is pregnant out of wedlock. She does everything in her human power to give Sulfia a miscarriage. I know, right? Brutal is an understatement. Murder is perhaps the only action Rosa did not pursue. When her grand-daughter is born nine months later, Rosa insists she take responsibility to raise the new born because Sulfia is an ugly, stupid, reckless, young, and inept mother.
Rosa always held a strong desire to move out of Russia. She soon discovers a German who has a palate for Tartar dishes, and uses the opportunity to accrue her chances of moving herself, the daughter, and granddaughter to Germany. She manipulates the situation by offering her granddaughter to lure the man. Rosa cooks all the hottest dishes of the Tartar cuisine. Whether they make it to Germany; I will leave that up for you to read. But it’s a witty book that gets your head shaking in all directions, if you know what I mean. Not sure I would recommend this book as a holiday read, though, with Rosa’s deranged behaviors it can get pretty infuriating. Regardless, it’s a Europa publication and it portrays a glimpse of what literature from a different culture is like.
dee’s recommendation: 3/5