Sarah Khan

The Fortune Teller’s Babblings - The Incredible Stories Behind The Classifieds

Researched and told by Sarah Khan
(German title: Das Stammeln der Wahrsagerin)
ca. 173 pages
Sarah Khan
Foto: Sarah Khan
© Barbara Dietl

Sarah Khan, author and journalist, born in Hamburg in 1971, lives in Berlin. She studied Ethnology and German. She has published three novels. Her most recent was The Ghosts Of Berlin. True Stories. In 2012 she received the Michael Althen Prize.

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Apartment clearance and tabula rasa, fire or impulse sale – what drives people to sell their things for small change via classifieds? In all seriousness, with an intention to buy, Sarah Khan met numerous people who advertised and listened carefully when they started to recount their life stories – and created literature from oral history. The outcome is a series of stories about separation and new beginnings, happiness and unhappiness, of rising or already-burst dreams.

Ever since Sarah Khan began renovating an old school building in Brandenburg with her family, she’s constantly been studying eBay classified ads. She not only finds household items, but also unworn wedding dresses, books about horses, beauty products and photo albums. And she always notices: There are real people behind these ads. Unhappy Yvonne with her wedding dress; a young woman who genuinely believes that she can provide for her old age through her horse book collection; a fortune teller who offers her services and babbles in the process; a zoo keeper known as ‘Monkey Walter’, who once led Michael Jackson through the Berlin Zoo, pictures in his album prove it. What happened to these people who want to sell off parts of their lives? They told Sarah Khan and Sarah Khan wrote down their stories.