A powerfully original, poetically wrought first novel about the disappearance of a village during the Armenian genocide begun in 1915-the debut of a brilliant literary stylist.
"Spectacularly gifted, tender, wise, and terrible in rage, Micheline Marcom has woven a heart-rending tapestry from the lost time, lost places, and lost voices of the Armenian genocide."
Here is a novel of import and style, set in 1915-1917, the years of the Ottoman Turkish government's campaign of unspeakable brutality that resulted in the deaths of more than a million Armenians. Through a series of chapters that have the weight and economy of poetry, Micheline Aharonian Marcom introduces us to the stories of Anaguil, an Armenian girl taken in by Turkish neighbors after the death of her parents and who now views the remains of her world through a Muslim veil; Sargis, a poet hidden away in his mother's attic, dressed in woman's clothing, and steadily going mad; Lucine, a servant and lover of the American consul, reviled by the villagers for the illusory privilege she enjoys; Maritsa, a rage-filled Muslim wife who leaves her husband while he is at the front and becomes a whore; and Dickran, an infant left behind under a tree on the long exodus from an Armenian village, whose tiny hands reach up to touch the stars, who dies with his name unrecorded. Through these lives, we witness the vanishing of a people.
In pages replete with indelible images of beauty and horror, Marcom conjures the steam and the gossip of the hamam, the ghostly fragrance of rose petal preserves, and the metallic chill of fear. Her novel is an elegy to the final days of Orientalism and an elegant memorial to the victims of the twentieth century's first genocide. Together, the stories of these lives form a narrative mosaic-faceted, complex, exquisite in its detail, a devastating tableau.
About Micheline Aharonian Marcom
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Published April 23, 2001
by Riverhead Books.
History, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, War.