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Unser Deutschlandmärchen (Our German Story) Dinçer Güçyeter

216 pages, Mikrotext, 5th edition

· Winner of the 2023 Leipzig Book Fair Prize

· Book of the Month 2023 of Darmstädter Jury e.V.

· Selected and recommended by New Books in German

Our German Fairy Tale is Dinçer Güçyeter’s first novel: a candid and convincing family saga told in the voices of three generations from the early twentieth century to the present, set in Turkey and Germany. The story is told by three characters: Dinçer, his mother Fatma and his grandmother Hanife. It begins in Anatolia, with a stark example of the status of women at that time: it is the duty of every man to provide a homeless woman with shelter. A cartload of women whose husbands have been killed in the war is deposited in the village square. That same night Hanife is conceived by her mother Ayşe, a refugee from Greece, and the man who takes her in, Ömer Bey. Ömer’s other wives treat Ayşe like a slave, and when Hanife marries, she receives similar treatment from own husband, Osman. When Osman is killed, Hanife escapes to the city with her three children. A suitor, Yilmaz, asks to marry Fatma: reluctantly, Hanife agrees and Fatma travels with Yilmaz to Germany. She works in a factory making carburettors for Mercedes. Yilmaz runs a bar, which turns into a kind of clubhouse for his friends. However, it loses money, and Hanife takes on extra work in an attempt to pay Yilmaz’s debts. After thirteen years of marriage, Dinçer is born. Fatma adores him, but their financial circumstances become more extreme. Even though he is a child, Dinçer tries to earn money to help. Eventually, Fatma is injured in an industrial accident and has to give up work in the factory.

“A sometimes quiet, gentle, vulnerable book, but often an equally angry, wounded, rebellious book. Above all, however, it is a virtuously composed work of linguistic art that one cannot escape”


“The compelling power and beauty of his poetic work is gauged with the ethos of craftsmanship: the skill of ‘working and adapting raw material with the right tools.’ On the one hand, the aesthetic experience of matching form and content; on the other, the existential process of giving a life story the dignity and meaning it deserves. In the middle of it all are the poet and his mother.”


“As Dinçer approaches adulthood he knows he cannot do the kind of work his mother would

approve of: he is a writer. He spends all his free time reading, and feels like an outsider everywhere. In Germany he is aware of how Turkish he is, and in Turkey he feels very German. His intense love for a mother who worked herself into the ground for his sake is tempered by a desire to grow beyond this kind of life. The book is a collage of short chapters with different first-person narrators and a variety of ‘songs’ written in prose in the third person, poems, and black and white photos. The photos in particular give a strong sense that these are real people, and the writing itself is direct, lucid, and affecting. Though explicitly denoted as a novel, the book feels very personal and true to life. An intriguing portrayal

of under-represented life experiences and a powerful evocation of the intense and complex love between Dinçer and his mother.”


“The book is certainly one of those that will keep us busy for longer than just one season.«


“A story of arriving against. all odds? A sceptical stocktaking? A declaration of love perhaps, an angry reckoning, or a sentimental family story? Dinçer Güçyeter pulls the rug out from under all expectations and presents a novel that is unusual in every respect.«


“Now he has succeeded in making great literature out of Fatma's silence, which she shares with so many women and men of her generation. This idiosyncratic, raw book is a must-read.”


“A poetics of experience. ... This extraordinary book take readers on a journey in a double sense, for never before has one come so close to the inner life of Turkish migrant women who have lived with and among us and worked for us for so long as in these texts.«


“The first generation of people who came to Germany as so-called guest workers has recently been increasingly the subject of contemporary literature. But as stylistically multifaceted as the writer and publisher Dinçer Güçyeter, born in 1979 in Nettetal, takes on the story of his parents, one is unlikely to have read this aspect of the history of the Federal Republic before.”


“I know and love Dinçer’s poetry. That he has now written a novel is very good news.”


“Apart from its literary quality, Our German Fairy Tale is also a tribute to the many people who have come to Germany from Turkey since 1961, carrying in their luggage little more than the hope of earning enough money to return home in a few years as made people..”


Dinçer Güçyeter was born in 1979 in Nettetal and is a German theatremaker, poet, editor, and publisher. Güçyeter grew up as the son of a pub owner and a manual worker and gained his secondary school certificate in evening classes. From 1996 to 2000 he trained as a tool mechanic and subsequently worked as a restaurateur. In 2012, he founded the ELIF Verlag publishing house, which focuses on poetry. Güçyeter continues to fund his publishing venture by working part-time as a forklift driver. Aus Glut geschnitzt was published in

2017 and Mein Prinz, ich bin das Ghetto in 2021. In 2022, Güçyeter was awarded the Peter Huchel Prize. He has two children and lives in Nettetal.


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