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"Bekanntlich sind Dreiecksbeziehungen am kompliziertesten": Turkish, Jewish and German Identity in Zafer Senocak's "Gefaehrliche Verwandtschaft"' / Katharina, Hall
German Life and Letters, Volume: 56, Issue: 1, Pages: 72 - 88
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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/1468-0483.00244
Zafer Şenocak is one of Germany's most prolific Turkish German writers, known both for his wide–ranging essays on questions of minority identity and as the author of a tetralogy of ‘Prosabaende’ that treat similar themes: Der Mann im Unterhemd (Berlin 1995), Die Praerie (Hamburg 1997), Gefaehrl...
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Zafer Şenocak is one of Germany's most prolific Turkish German writers, known both for his wide–ranging essays on questions of minority identity and as the author of a tetralogy of ‘Prosabaende’ that treat similar themes: Der Mann im Unterhemd (Berlin 1995), Die Praerie (Hamburg 1997), Gefaehrliche Verwandtschaft (Munich 1998) and Der Erottomane (Munich 1999). This article looks in detail at Gefaehrliche Verwandtschaft, exploring its representations of contemporary Turkish German and Jewish German identity, as well as its vision of a possible trialogue between Germans, Turks and Jews. Particular attention is given to the depiction of the novel's unusual Turkish–Jewish–German narrator, Sascha Muhteschem, and the way in which he is used to challenge cultural images of the Turk or Jew as victim within German society. This, it is argued, is designed to unsettle dominant perceptions of ethnic and national identity both in order to highlight the inadequacy of available categories of identity and to suggest that the key to moving beyond these lies in the recognition of the importance of individual biography. The article's reading of the novel is supported by an examination of its conceptualisations of history, memory and the imagination, as well as Şenocak's own reflections on issues of identity in his latest collection of essays, Zungenentfernung (Munich 2001), and in two as yet unpublished interviews.
German literature, identity, history
College of Arts and Humanities