German / Germany
Im Jahr des Affen
(In the year of the monkey)
Luu, Que Du
Hamburg: Königskinder, . – 286 p.
Germany | History 1970s | Vietnam | Refugee | Family | Coming of age
White Ravens issue: 2016
Reading age: 14+
A provincial town in Germany in the 1970’s. Sixteen-year-old Minh Thi, called Mini, lives there with her father. They are Chinese boat people from Vietnam. Her father has opened a Chinese Restaurant, which does moderately well, though he works around the clock to make it successful. One day he keels over from a heart attack. The second one follows shortly thereafter. Mini, newly in love with Bela, must jump in and keep the business running. This is not exactly easy, given the stubborn cook and Uncle Wu visiting from Australia. “Im Jahr des Affen” tells a coming-of-age story of a special kind. Mini, who is at first a typical egocentric teenager, takes over responsibility and must cope with the history and the secrets of her family. Que Du Luu, who like Mini is of Chinese descent and came to Germany from Vietnam as a child, stays in tune with her protagonist: Mini is a careful observer with a fine sense for discerning meaning and depth in seemingly banal details.