Three generations linked by a yearning to put down roots a colourful novel based on the author’s family history.
WO DIE GEISTER TANZEN
(Where the Ghosts Dance)
by Joana Osman
C.Bertelsmann/PRH Germany, August 2023
Jaffa is Sabiha and Ahmed’s home. It is where they’re raising their sons, and where they have opened their own cinema, so that they can sit in the back row and cry at Shirley Temple movies. But when Israel declares independence in 1948 and the Arab-Israeli war breaks out, the family is forced to flee. They embark on an Odyssey that takes them first to Lebanon and then to Turkey. As they search for a new home, all they find is derelict temporary housing and states that refuse to accept them. They grieve for the dead, but never lose their lust for life – not to mention their sense of humour.
Seventy years later, Osman travels to Israel in search of her family’s past. Who were these two people, who raised her father on the run? What was the trip like which invisibly, but decisively, affected her own youth?
Fiction and biography merge as Osman seeks to salvage her family’s story – an imaginative and delightfully funny novel, where the ghosts of the past come to dance.
Joana Osman, born in 1982, is the daughter of a Palestinian father and German mother. After studying American studies, theatre and history of art, she co-founded Peace Factory, a Middle East peace movement, in 2012. She is now a novelist, lecturer and storytelling coach, and lives near Munich with her family. Her debut novel, « Am Boden des Himmels » (« The Bottom of the Sky »), appeared in 2019.