Perilous Kinship

Migrational Identity and Memory in Perilous Kinship College

In Perilous Kinship by Zafer Şenocak, the protagonist Sascha grapples with his intersecting German-Jewish and Turkish identities in the wake of the German reunification. Coming from a family of migrants, coupled with his own nomadic character, Sascha appears culturally dislocated and alienated throughout the novel. After his parents pass away, he inherits a series of journals from his paternal Turkish grandfather which he believes will provide him with the answers to understanding his familial past, and perhaps help him pinpoint his cultural and national identity. The novel explores these issues through the lens of multiculturalism, as Sascha continuously questions if he truly belongs to any one nation or culture, often citing his migrant status as the reason for his perpetual confusion and searching. In the process of untangling his family lineage, Sascha draws the conclusion that he must construct a historical narrative, rather than reconstruct it, in order to find closure. He eventually embraces this unknowing, and finds acceptance in his lack of belonging, treating it like a blank slate that he can alter, build upon, and erase. Thus memory, alongside identity, can be seen as wavering, malleable constructs in Perilous...

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