Happy Birthday, Turk! (Kemal Kayankaya Series #1)

Happy Birthday, Turk! (Kemal Kayankaya Series #1)


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Happy Birthday, Turk (Kemal Kayankaya Series #1) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
michaelm42071 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The detective is always an outsider, negotiating between two worlds, whether he is the classic, Sherlock Holmes type or he, sometimes, she, is the hard-boiled detective, the loner fiercely guarding her independence. The detective¿s alienation is worse when his race differs from all those around him, and that is the case in the books written by the German-born Turk Jakob Arjouni.Arjouni¿s Frankfurt detective is Kemal Kayankaya, a Turkish-born German who experiences daily prejudice and seems to make a specialty of it in his cases. When Arjouni describes Frankfurt from the point of view of his detective, racial friction comes through even the most casual and mundane encounters. Arjouni is not well-known in America, but he has a huge following in Germany; where his books are now routinely filmed and he is considered one of the best crime novelists in the world.Arjouni was only twenty-one when he published his first detective novel in 1985. Titled Happy, Birthday, Turk, it introduces Kayankaya, whose name and birthplace are Turkish, but who doesn¿t speak the language, having been raised by German foster-parents. His appearance is non-Aryan enough to arouse vicious prejudice in the seedy Frankfurt underworld where he spends most of his time. . ''They are 'international' down to their Parisian underwear ¿ Kayankaya says of his fellow Germans, ¿but they're not able to recognize a Turk unless he's carrying a garbage can.'' On his twenty-sixth birthday, Kayankaya is hired by the widow of a Turkish immigrant who has been stabbed to death in Frankfurt¿s red-light district. The investigation dumps Kayankaya deep into places where German intolerance for the Turks is not even thinly disguised. In a complicated plot he uncovers police corruption and encounters as much violence as any American hard-boiled detective.What is interesting to me about Arjouni is the combination of his subject matter, his method, and his reception by the Germans. His subject matter in the Kayankaya novels, of which there are now four, is always the tension and resulting violence between cultures. Throughout these books, as Kayankaya uncovers nationalism and racism or feels it in his own person, there is anger but no preaching. For Kayankaya, prejudice is just one part of the whole resistant milieu in which he works, and preaching about it would be, in a sense, as silly as Dashiell Hammett¿s Sam Spade preaching against violence. The effect of these books is a stark picture of German xenophobia and the many problems of that country, where reunification, the European union, and borders newly opened to former Soviet-bloc nations all happened with a speed no one could have predicted. But German readers and moviegoers, far from being resentful at the mirror Arjouni holds up to them, have made him a phenomenon: Germany¿s most popular mystery writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. But liked Kismet(his second book) better. This was a little to hard boiled for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This would be the hard-boiled-detective novel. It doesn't appeal to me, apart from some humor and some matter-of-fact ethnic commentary. It might work for readers who are male and Republican (in the American sense) but not racist.