Girl has a feeling she cannot put into words, a feeling of just how quickly some lives are forgotten and for how many generations they remain inscribed in the bodies of those who follow. She notices it in wayward glances, in the way Brother is unable to speak his mother tongue without an accent. She sees it in books that are full of characters who never resemble her. All comparisons, however, must inevitably fail because, apart from a few fragmentary memories, Girl has no knowledge of her ancestors, who appear neither in official nor in family archives. The author's alter ego therefore begins to construct her own family tree with a radicality that is in no way inferior to reality based on loose threads, fragments of the past and myths. This tree‘s widely spread, many-leaved branches reach from the Cape Coloured community in South Africa across the Atlantic to present-day Germany. For the first time, they give those who have been denied a history and a voice until now space and a place to exist. In Simoné Goldschmidt-Lechner's debut novel Knives, Tongues, they, alongside Girl, now loudly ask where origins begin, where "home" lies, and which stories are necessary to escape oblivion.
English sample available
Simoné Goldschmidt-Lechner (she/they) is a Hamburg-based writer, translator and interdisciplinary artist. She has been writing since 2018. Messer Zungen is her first novel.