It is history's irony that Germany in the 1990s received tens of thousands of jewish immigrants from the former Soviet union, people who wanted to move to Europe when the wall fell, and that quickly turned to the country's jewish population for the first time since the second world war actually increased.
The German author Sasha Marianna Salzmann belong to this immigrantvågen, she is born in 1985, grew up in Moscow and came to Germany with his ryskjudiska family in 1995.
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because of the expansive släktskrönan ”Except itself”, which has already won a number of awards in their home country and now in the skilful English translation by Jesper Festin. In the home country have the Salzmann already before the debut made a name for himself within the dynamic German teaterlivet.
this is a large and dense european novel, which begins with a young adult, Ali, arrives in Istanbul to find his twin brother Anton. But it soon becomes clear that she is searching as much for himself and his own identity (and it soon becomes uncertain about Anton at all, is in Istanbul). In an apartment full of bedbugs launches her new existence, quickly end up on the underground queerklubb and lagging home Katho, a clean-shaven Romanian dancer who självmedicinerar on testosterone. The changed the middle of the sentence, and soon will also be Ali to the ”I”, when Salzmann shifts berättarperspektiv. Turkey is a country full of political turmoil but it does not affect the rootless narrator who moves in the present, on the streets, among the outcast and – not least – in the language.
this is a novel that is so packed with potent images that are both impressive and at times exhausting, as one of the where the films of Emir Kusturica from the 90's.
The whole thing is, as you hear, very Berlinskt.
a dragspelande woman at a club is what it sounds like: ”Her arms and a wound on the monster to the instruments was hidden up to the elbows of the black fish - fjällshandskar. She threw the head backwards as if someone hit her in the face, the rödsminkade lips engulfed the whole roof, her tongue stuck out like a pointing finger.”
And so it goes on. But when Salzmann soon begin to roll up an underlying family history, it will also be like the rolling imagery is more natural. Connections go in all directions, Salzmann moves forward and backward, all the way to the thirties, writes up a detailed and interesting history about the ryskjudisk culture. Most striking is the description of the young family's arrival to Germany, how they first come to asylboenden where the parents do tyskaläxor together with other emigrantpar, wrapped in buljonglukt from asylboendets kitchen.
eventually they find a small apartment, where they are constantly quarreling, until Anton a day gets so old that he can give his father a beating in a natural outcome of ancestral violence.
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sixteen and to engage in the political group of the ”Schwarzer Kater”, the black cat, ”which was something between socialist, communist and anarchist, they did not lock down”.
Her mother must pick her up from the police station when she practiced to make molotov cocktails and thrown stones at the police.
The whole thing is, as you hear, very berlinskt.
convinced that Sasha Marianna Salzmanns novel will be embraced by the readers who go running in this kind of heady realism and dirty maximalism. Myself I wonder whether the book sometimes is a bit too fond of himself. Sure, it is cleverly to be able to spin so many stories at the same time, but sometimes I have the urge to open a window and let in a little oxygen.