Wow, what a novel! I pre ordered Hengameh Yaghoobifarah’s debut novel “Ministerium der Träume” (Ministry of Dreams) because I was so excited to read this book and it didn’t disappoint me one bit.
“Ministerium der Träume” is about Nas, a bouncer at a queer bar, whose sister Nushin died in a car crash. A grieving Nas decides to take care of her teenage niece Parvin. The story simultaneously unfolds on two levels: The present where Nas begins to question whether her depressed sister’s car crash was an accident, a suicide or even murder. And in the past where Nas, Nushin and their emotionally distant mother migrated to Germany, the sisters lost their father and the racist attacks of the 1990s shaped their teenage years.
This books tells the story of the sisters Nas and Nushin, of Nushin’s death and Nas’ quest to uncover the truth behind it. It’s about that but it’s also about so much more. The novel addresses migration, sex work, trauma, loss and grief, racism, queerness, mental health and the meaning of family and most of all sisterhood.
It’s a beautifully written book full of references to music, pop culture and the dark history of racism and right terrorism after the German reunion. It’s a novel I couldn’t put down because it’s full of suspense, beauty and life.
Even though the last third and the ending felt a bit too rushed and abrupt for me I’d still highly recommend this book. It’s a gripping story and an incredibly important book. I wished that instead of only reading the texts of dead white cis men as a teenager in school, I would’ve read this novel because “Ministerium der Träume” is not only a beautifully written story but also an account of the errors of German society.
Do you want to get to know more German Books? Look under the tag “German Books” on my blog or check out my guide on Instagram. This book is also available in Dutch translation as “Ministerie van Dromen”.