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Just Call Me Superhero
by Alina Bronsky and Tim Mohr


Overview - An atmospheric evocation of modern Berlin, a vivid portrait of youth under pressure, and a moving story about learning to love, this new novel from the author of Broken Glass Park is an irreverent look at the sometimes difficult work of self-acceptance.  Read more...

 
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More About Just Call Me Superhero by Alina Bronsky; Tim Mohr
 
 
 
Overview
An atmospheric evocation of modern Berlin, a vivid portrait of youth under pressure, and a moving story about learning to love, this new novel from the author of Broken Glass Park is an irreverent look at the sometimes difficult work of self-acceptance.

Badly disfigured as a result of an encounter with a dog, seventeen-year-old Marek begins attending a support group for young people with physical disabilities, which he dubs "the cripple group," led by an eccentric older man only known as The Guru. Marek is dismissive of the other members of the support group, seeing little connection between their misfortunes and his own. The one exception to this is Janne, the beautiful wheelchair-bound woman with whom he has fallen in love. When a family crisis forces Marek to face his demons, with or without the group, he finds himself in dire need of support. But the distance he has put between himself and The Guru's misshapen acolytes may well be too great to bridge.

Just Call Me Superhero cements Alina Bronsky's reputation as one of her generation's most compelling and stylish young authors.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781609452292
  • ISBN-10: 1609452291
  • Publisher: Europa Editions
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 240
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

A tender portrait of European adolescence

Russian-born Alina Bronsky made a splash with 2011’s The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, with praise from sources as varied as The Daily Beast and the Financial Times. She’s back with a third novel, Just Call Me Superhero, serving up more biting wit and a no-frills style that readers can eat up in big, satisfying chunks.

It’s been a year since Marek, a 17-year-old from Berlin, was mauled by a Rottweiler. Perpetually hidden behind sunglasses, he avoids mirrors and most people, struggling with their shocked reactions to the sight of his face. It takes a trick by his mother, no-nonsense divorce lawyer Claudia, to get him to a support group, but one look at the beautiful wheelchair-bound Janne keeps him at the meeting. Though he despises his other new cohorts and their leader, dubbed “the Guru,” his longing for the ice-cold Janne keeps him coming back. A trip to the countryside tests his maturity and puts him at odds with the group, but when a family emergency calls him away, he finds he might need those “cripples” more than he realized. Whisked off to the home of his young stepmother and the half-brother he barely knows, Marek faces a gauntlet of challenges to his self-absorption. Through this, he begins his journey to self-acceptance.

A twist ending comes out of left field, but the sum of Just Call Me Superhero is greater than its disparate plot parts: Bronsky’s sharp humor, her deftly painted characters and Marek’s strong narrative voice are all it needs. A painful, tender, very funny bildungsroman void of sentimentality, Bronsky’s book captures contemporary European adolescence in one delicious swoop. Adults and teens should enjoy it equally.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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