Are you by any chance planning a trip to Morocco? Then Mona Ameziane’s autobiographical travel book Auf Basidis Dach (Basidi’s roof top terrace, not yet translated into English) is certainly good preparation: The author is the daughter of a German mother and a Moroccan father, grew up in the Ruhr area, and takes this book to consider Morocco and the question of her own belonging. The story is framed by a trip to Morocco that she undertook together with her father.
Narratively, Ameziane starts strong, foreshadowing and building tension: Will she find her grandmother’s birthplace of Snober, in the foothills of the Rif Mountains, which does not exist on any map? Why does she remember so much blood on Basidi’s roof terrace? Before these questions are cleared up, the book first takes readers to the old town of Fez, looks at the correct preparation and pouring of mint tea, at the author’s school year with a rich family in Agadir, and so on. She describes how starkly determined by being German she is, and how she puts her foot in her mouth every now and then in Morocco, or comes up against her limits. At the same time, she recalls encounters with Nazis in Germany and asks her father about his experiences of racism. Ameziane doesn’t quite manage to maintain the narrative strength until the end, but the charming narrative voice helps me overlook it – she is transparent in the epilogue about having struggled a lot to find a good ending.
In fact, I noticed right from the first pages that the narrative voice was particularly nice. She tries to find something positive even in difficult situations and criticisms are packaged in a very friendly way. So it can be said that this is one of the gentlest books about home, belonging and racist experiences that I have read in a long time. The friendly tone certainly makes it accessible to many readers, even those who don’t usually deal with identity politics.
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