The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
A Novel

98%

11 Critic Reviews

...Bohjalian’s storytelling makes this a beautiful, frightening, and unforgettable read.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

Over the course of his career, New York Times bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian has taken readers on a spectacular array of journeys. Midwives brought us to an isolated Vermont farmhouse on an icy winter’s night and a home birth gone tragically wrong. The Double Bind perfectly conjured the Roaring Twenties on Long Island—and a young social worker’s descent into madness. And Skeletons at the Feast chronicled the last six months of World War Two in Poland and Germany with nail-biting authenticity. As The Washington Post Book World has noted, Bohjalian writes “the sorts of books people stay awake all night to finish.”
In his fifteenth book, The Sandcastle Girls, he brings us on a very different kind of journey. This spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria, in 1915 and Bronxville, New York, in 2012—a sweeping historical love story steeped in the author’s Armenian heritage, making it his most personal novel to date.
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke College, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The First World War is spreading across Europe, and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There, Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo to join the British Army in Egypt, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost.Flash forward to the present, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents’ ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed the “Ottoman Annex,” Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura’s grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family’s history that reveals love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.


BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Chris Bohjalian's The Light in the Ruins.
 

About Chris Bohjalian

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CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of twelve novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages and twice became movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. Visit him at www.ChrisBohjalian.com or on Facebook.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published July 17, 2012 by Vintage. 322 pages
Genres: Other, History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Aug 05 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Sandcastle Girls
All: 11 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 0

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
May 26 2012

...Bohjalian’s storytelling makes this a beautiful, frightening, and unforgettable read.

Read Full Review of The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Usha Rao on Jul 19 2012

This is a sober, elegiac and touching novel that does not flinch away from depicting the depths of human suffering, but is also able to illuminate the human capacity for survival and resurgence.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Curt Schleier on Jul 16 2012

Bohjalian is a literary novelist... his books are also filled with artfully drawn characters and great, passionate storytelling. "The Sandcastle Girls" is all that, but different, more powerful.

Read Full Review of The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Jul 13 2012

...Bohjalian (Midwives) — the grandson of Armenian survivors — pours passion, pride, and sadness into his tale of ethnic destruction and endurance

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Eugenia Zukerman on Jul 16 2012

Bohjalian deftly weaves the many threads of this story back and forth from past to present, from abuse to humanity, from devastation to redemption.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Carol Memmott on Jul 16 2012

...Bohjalian makes a near-century-old event come to life in a way that will make readers gasp with shock that such a terrible event...is such a small part of our knowledge of world history.

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The Boston Globe

Excellent
Reviewed by Julie Wittes Schlack on Jul 17 2012

With Armen and Elizabeth, Bohjalian has fulfilled the duty of anyone seeking to document a genocide — he ensures that we don’t look away.

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The Miami Herald

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy Driscoll on Jul 20 2012

If his goal is to educate us, make us see what has been almost left behind in the dust of history, he succeeds. And after reading this book, we aren’t likely to forget.

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Arts Sarasota

Excellent
Reviewed by Susan Rife on Aug 03 2012

“The Sandcastle Girls” is Bohjalian’s 14th novel, and he’s at the top of his game with this deeply personal story.

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Seven Days

Excellent
Reviewed by Margot Harrison on Jul 11 2012

Sometimes, Bohjalian suggests, it’s up to the survivors’ descendants to talk about genocide, even if that means using fiction to weave fragmentary records into a tapestry of horrors.

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She Knows

Good
Reviewed by Candace on Jul 10 2012

Chris Bohjalian's very personal (although fictional) story...is one of his most moving and important novels to date. The Sandcastle Girls is a don't-miss read of the summer.

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