Karosh Taha’s second book “In the Belly of the Queen” plays, like her debut “Description of a Crab Migration”, among Kurdish families and young people in the Ruhr area. Taha, who was born in 1987, gave up her job as a teacher when it turned out that she could make a living from writing.
SZ: What are you reading right now?
Many things parallel, I have just finished reading Matthias Nawrat’s “A Sad Guest”, it impressively deals with the subject of death. I was struck by the idea of José Saramago’s “The City of the Blind”: blindness as an epidemic. But I didn’t believe the characters were blind, we were still too busy with the outside world. I’m also reading Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space – I like the idea that all the places we’ve been have stayed with us.
If you could wish for a book that doesn’t exist yet, what would it be?
The book exists but hasn’t been published yet: Jina Khayyer’s debut novel. We have accompanied each other in writing and still do. Your novel is already finished, mine is just beginning.
Which classic did you read far too late in life?
I only consciously read Kafka in 2020. One never gets tired of Kafka, one can read more and more of him. I am quickly annoyed by many authors because I see the craft too much, but Kafka writes so clearly and at the same time labyrinthically that I follow him without knowing the goal.
What book on your shelf do you feel a little embarrassed about?
Karl May “Through wild Kurdistan”, I’ve never read it because I strongly assume that May exoticizes Kurds and the country, at the same time I think the title is cool: going through wild Kurdistan. Unfortunately, Kurdistan is not wild, too many power-hungry politicians have exploited the country, too many bloodthirsty dictators have attacked the country.
What character from a book do you keep coming back to?
Most of the characters from “100 Years of Solitude” because they are already created as ghosts and like ghosts they follow me. I have to think of Gregor Samsa, most of the Kafka characters, because they are strays. Otherwise, I say goodbye to all characters as soon as I close the book cover.
If you could invite four authors to dinner, including those who are no longer alive, who would sit at the table?
Toni Morrison, Franz Kafka, Max Frisch, Sandra Cisneros. They come from different times and places, they look at the world with such different eyes, I would just sit there and listen.
In her essay “What am I actually doing here?” do you write: “The literary business is destroying literature”? Isn’t that self-extinction?
No, as the name suggests, the company is responsible for the capitalist aspect, so it strives for homogenization, it works seasonally and is therefore diametrically opposed to the process of literature; Literature, however, should be indefinable and timeless, otherwise it degenerates into reportage and reporting – that’s my impression of the literary business.
You also write: “Art is not a luxury that I allow myself, but a necessity”. For what?
To find an expression for what isn’t there yet, what hasn’t been described and isn’t being written, but is within me.
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