The protagonist of Jakob Arjouni’s fictional detective story and still DRINK MORE! is German-Turkish private detective Kemel Kayankaya. The story-line, although relatively simple, follows Kayankaya and his search, bottle by bottle of consumed Vodka and Schnapps, and pack by pack of cigarettes, to find the missing “fifth person” of a crime scene in and around Frankfurt, Germany. Four environmental activists are charged with having blown up the waste pipe of the Böllig chemical plant, but there is a missing man, and he is the link to the largest mystery of all- who killed Frederick Böllig the night of the activist’s attack?
The short novel takes the reader from one drunken night to the next…Kayankaya is more drunk than sober in this book, which makes for humorous commentary from Kayankaya as to the state of his being, and the progress of his search for the 5th man. Most vivid in the book is the continuous racial discrimination and both verbal and physical attacks on his person and identity. “I mow my lawn, I laugh a lot during the carnival season, and I manage to drink beer and play skat at the same time….My living-room set has been paid for. And I’m really a dancing Silesian at heart,” (15) replies Kayankana sarcastically in response to his becoming a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany, “I’ve lived in this country for as long as I can remember” (16).
From his neighbors, “Here in Germany, we sweep our landings! We’re not in the Balkans here, and you better get used to it, or else go back there!” (19), to fellow customers, “since when do you serve guys like him?” (44), to bullying skinheads, “rat-Turk,” and drunk university students, “Hey Charlie, that’s a Turk you’re talking to! Turk only like women with huge asses. No head, no legs, just an ass, you know?” (151), both Kayankaya and the reader are bombarded with racial slurs. The book does not address the situation in any productive way, Kayankaya either a) takes the insults, and walks away, or b) punches the man, and then still walks away, cigarette and a drink in hand.
Arjouni, although having written 4 short stories featuring his German-Turkish detective, has himself no Turkish ancestry. In biographically placing his character in relation to a very topic like racial discrimination, his stories convey a message to the greater public via this fictional device of literature.
by Katherina Haug