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Que Du Luu

Im Jahr des Affen (The Year of the Monkey)


Königskinder (Carlsen Verlag), March 2016, 288 pp.
ISBN: 978 3 551 56019 3

Sample Translation

The Year of the Monkey takes a poetic yet light-hearted look at the difficulties of being different and fitting in, mirroring some of the authorís own experiences of growing up in Germany and her familyís flight from Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Que Du Luuís characters are so life-like they are almost tangible. Living in Germany, sixteen-year-old Mini has lost most of her connection to her Chinese heritage; she is a so-called Ďbananaí. As the reader, we are privy to her inner thoughts Ė although she doesnít think of herself as Chinese and canít eat with chopsticks, most people judge her by her appearance. She is embarrassed by the fact that her father speaks broken German, eats noisily and chews with his mouth open. Mini, a typical teenager in many ways, helps out grudgingly in the familyís restaurant. It is only when her father suffers a heart attack that she realises the toll that working late every day of the week has taken on him as he struggles to make ends meet. Her eyes are also opened to the harsh reality for many immigrants: both the restaurantís cook and busboy are in Germany illegally without work permits and are obliged to live in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

Miniís perspective changes again when her Uncle Wu comes to visit from Australia. Outspoken and with an opinion about everything, Uncle Wu comments that Miniís Chinese isnít up to scratch, that her father isnít strict enough with her and that the reason why the restaurant isnít booming is because they donít have any guardian lions at the entrance. Uncle Wu also has constructive criticism to offer based on his experiences of running a business in Australia. The more time Mini spends with her uncle, the more she learns about the familyís escape from Vietnam and the many sacrifices involved. She hears how they tried to dock in Singapore and werenít allowed off the ship, how they spent a year in a camp in Thailand and how many people were tricked into spending their life savings on the journey. Uncle Wu and other members of their family were some of the fortunate ones who made it all the way to Australia. The story closes on a hopeful note, looking towards the socio-political changes that should ensure a better future.

Miniís story of growing up with a dual sense of identity is thoroughly engrossing and the novel is a real page-turner with universal, international themes that will resonate with an English-language readership.


Que Du Luu was born in 1963 in Saigon in a Chinese family. At the end of the Vietnam War she fled with millions of other people via boat. Her family runs a Chinese restaurant in Bielefeld, Germany. Que Du Luu has been awarded the Adalbert-von-Chamisso Prize and the Hohenmser Literature Prize. The Year of the Monkey is her first childrenís book.

Previous works include:
Vielleicht will ich alles (2011); Totalschaden (2006)


Application for assistance with translation costs Ė Germany

Translation rights available from:
Carlsen Verlag
Völckersstr. 14-20
22765 Hamburg, Germany
Contact: Daniela Steiner
Tel: +49 (0) 40 39 804 0

Carlsen Verlag was founded in 1953 as a subsidiary of the Danish company Carlsen, Copenhagen, so that its series for younger children could be published in German translation. Carlsen Verlag Hamburg has been publishing its own titles since 1964, ranging from picture books for younger children to novels for young adults. Educational series include both fiction and non-fiction for kindergarten and primary school levels. Carlsen Comics were the first to introduce comic books to the German market.