Sunday, September 18, 2016

Happy Birthday, Turk!

I found Jakob Arjouni’s Happy Birthday, Turk! while googling about the television series Cenk Batu: Undercover Agent. Cenk Batu is a German of Turkish ancestry, and my google search introduced me to a world of Turkish-German television series, movies, and books. Happy Birthday, Turk! was highly recommended on several sites, so I quickly ordered an English translation through my library’s interlibrary loan program.

Turk! was a fast read. Kemal Kayankaya is rough-living private investigator that is hired to investigate the murder of a Turkish migrant. I am not sure if it was the translation, but the reading, though fast, was not smooth. I never felt invested in Kayankaya and wasn’t sure how such a lazy, angry, drunken young man was able to solve this crime.

This book was valuable to me, though, as a perspective on the Turkish experience in Germany. Though Kayankaya has no ties to Turkey, he suffers from the same discrimination as other Turks in Germany. I shouldn’t have been surprised by the racism and prejudice the Turks experienced in this book, but I was.

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