‘Together, the twin narratives generate a memorable portrait of youth in a Kurdish-German (post)migrant community, one that gains depth and interest from the disagreements and inconsistencies among its narrators. Taha is a talent. Read this, and then read whatever she writes next.’ Exberliner
Published 1 April 2023.
Amal shocks the whole neighbourhood by beating up her classmate Younes. Her father defends her behaviour and encourages her to assert herself. From then on everyone avoids Amal – and then her father leaves. Searching in vain for an explanation, Amal finds unexpected refuge with Younes and his mother Shahira, both outsiders like her. Years later, when the situation comes to a head and the conflict with Raffiq’s gang escalates, Amal flees to Kurdistan to look for her father.
Raffiq’s friend Younes is the reluctant centre of attention in their neighbourhood – thanks to his free-spirited mother Shahira, who breaks all the rules. Raffiq thinks about Shahira all the time, at once fascinated and repulsed by her. Unable to bear the situation any longer, Younes plans to leave. When Raffiq’s girlfriend Amal also wants to move away, Raffiq’s world begins to break apart. He attempts to sabotage their plans. The question is: what does Raffiq actually want to do with his life?
In her kaleidoscopic novel, Karosh Taha expands our ideas of class, race and gender as she loops two stories around an invisible lynchpin: a woman who defies all expectations, a blank canvas for projections from all those around her. Deftly translated by Grashina Gabelmann, the book can be explored from either end, creating two very different narratives.
‘Im Bauch der Königin could have been a very serious book, but the author’s flair for narration, her poetic language – which succeeds in making a fascinating world out of the dreary Ruhr area – and her sharp instinct for comedy mean that there is a great lightness to the book’s depth.’ Anne Burgmer, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger
‘With brilliant language poised between humour and harshness, poetry and teen slang, Karosh Taha plumbs the depths of intergenerational conflict and touches on several universal themes. […] An impressive new voice in contemporary Germany literature.’ Susanna Schürmanns, WDR Westart