Review: Biskaya by SchwarzRund

Biskaya cover

How gorgeous is the cover? Made by the author!

Pub. Date: November 10th, 2016 I Page Count: 274 p. I  Imprint: zaglossus  I  CW: Abuse, ableism, suicide, eating disorder, racism, queerantagonism

 

Summary:

Biskaya is about a Tue, a Black woman in her thirties, living in Berlin. She’s working as a singer in a German indie band. However, life with her band mates and her roommates is difficult and problematic. It’s only with her best friend Matthew that Tue finds safety and family.

 

Review:

Biskaya is a queer Afropolitan Berlin novel. It’s about Tue and her alter ego TuesDay, a rock singer, and her search for a sense of belonging. It’s a novel about the importance of chosen family. SchwarzRund invites readers into the everyday life of Tue, of the vulnerability and strength of a Black bisexual and neurodiverse woman working through trauma and hoping to find somewhere she can fit in. And perhaps, eventually, arrive in a place where she is able to support others.

The author writes about the lived experience of Black people in Germany. I think both international and white German readers have no idea what this country is like. SchwarzRund makes transparent the constant racism and microaggresions. The weapon of racist civility. The politics of hair.

The titular, fictional Bisakya from the title comes to life in in the main character’s memories and we learn through background information from Tue about the political situation and the  idea of a Black European country for Biskaya.

Biskaya is a very creative novel. I loved the narrative flow and the inclusion of Tue’s lyrics, how she manages to express her feelings best through song texts and thereby giving us an intimate glimpse into her reality. I was happy to see that the politics of this novel can also be found in its gender inclusive language, which is still all too rare in German fiction.

Reading Biskaya was a wonderful experience that German literature almost never delivers on! Tue’s story will stay with readers for a long time. And in a country that still likes to pretend that Black folx don’t exist, SchwarzRund gives us a powerful, complex but also joyful affirmation of Black queer identity in Germany.

It is my hope that this beautiful book will be translated into English, so you will all have a chance to read it and have access to this side of German culture: Black, queer, inclusive!

Make sure to add Biskaya to Goodreads here and also don’t miss out on SchwarzRund’s blog.

 

About the author:

schwarzrund

“I am SchwarzRund. By now, it has become my official pen name. First it was the name of my blog, but now I publish everything, artistic or academic, under that name.

I am a Black Dominican in Germany with both passports and I work in various fields. Storytelling and poetry/performance texts are the heart of my work. But painting, writing and online ranting are very important to me as well – for my activism and for me personally.”

*****

Other thoughts:

Sinead @ Huntress of Diverse Books

 

One thought on “Review: Biskaya by SchwarzRund

Add yours

  1. I’ve often wondered what it is like for nonwhite people in Germany and other European countries. I hear stories from time to time, but I’ve never read a book that focuses on those experiences (especially from an Own Voices perspective). This sounds like a powerful read.

    Like

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