Blue Jewellery by Katharina Winkler

Blue Jewellery by Katharina Winkler

Austrian fiction

Original title – blauschmuck

Translator – Laura Wagner

Source – Personal copy

It is that time of year again when it is German Lit month and this is the first book I read this year it is. I choose one of the books from Seagull books. This one is by the  Austrian writer Katharina Winkler this was her debut novel and won a number of prizes when it came out and has been translated into a number of languages.I picked it as my first read as it is based on a true story but is also one of those stories that need to be repeated it is a universal subject of abuse no matter where it is the result is the same as in the book. She has since published another novel.

I have to cut the wedding cake, and after that they will lead me to the bedroom. I stare at the icing on the cake and the white rose made from marzipan, the music stops and finally Yunus is standing beside me, and Yunus’ mother, who is now my mother, places a knife in Yunus’ hand and my hand on top of Yunus’ hand, and together we cut ourselves towards my virgin. Dessert plates with cake and marzipan roses on them are drifting all across the room, hands that end in people are stuck to their underside. Men, women and children with laughing mouths, who take their parties as they come, and who don’t mind my virgin. A plate is pushed into my hands.

The start of Filiz Horrors begins not long after her wedding day

The book is based on the true story of a Kurdish woman and the inner life of her marriage. The two meet in their early teens Filiz is swayed by the beauty of Yunus. The pair marry against her family, but the sense is this can lead them to freedom from the small village in the Anatolia mountains and head to the west. The book sees the young Yunus see other women with what she calls Blue Jewellery is hidden away. The marriage soon takes a turn as FILIZ s sees the true nature of Yunus when he starts to abuse and attack he giving her her own Blue Jewellery this cycle continues as the pair dream of leaving but each time she is attacked she becomes more to his beatings and hiding the marks of it as they have children. Yunus becomes closed to the world of their home veiled and at the mercy of Yunus and her world shrinks around her.  They do eventually head to Austria via Istanbul with their young family Will fillip and her children Halil, Selin and Seda escape? what will happen? How far will the cycle of violence go?

When the girls from the Neighbourhood come and the giggles flow into the courtyard, I cannot remain a silent shadow. The giggles reach up  to my knee, and my heart beats.

I am a child , wife that I am

I join the giggles and hug the girls, and I laugh and show my open mouth.

Younus is beating me

He has to beat the child out of my bones

The girl put of my guts

He has to beat the wife into my bones

These lines so haunted me when I read them

What this captured so well is how often Abuse can be viewed as normal and how can a young girl’s life change so quickly at one point she said he beat the girl out of me and the wife into me struck me as so sad this is what she had as a marriage and accepted it. The start of the book almost made the abuse seem part of everyday life. I was reminded of some of the scenes in. Call the midwife this is a society caught out of time where the male role and role model have been skewed. The fact this is based on a real story is even more horrifying. As I said this is a universal story though it isn’t just a Kurdish story abuse happens everywhere and that is the important side of the story to highlight to make sure people know it’s wrong.The book has a sparse poetic nature to it. So if you like stories of village life a marriage doomed and a tough woman at the heart of it this should appeal to you as a reader if you like books like this.

Winston’s score – A – I wish I had read this last year a powerful insight into an abusive marriage

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Nov 09, 2022 @ 20:44:47

    Does indeed sound a very powerful book, Stu.

    Reply

  2. Lisa Hill
    Nov 09, 2022 @ 21:32:42

    I was saddened by this review. I had thought, imagining sapphires and the like, that the book had a beautiful title, and then I realised what it really meant.

    Reply

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