by Aline Ohanesian
In her debut novel, Aline Ohanesian magnificently draws us a story that is brutal and heartbreaking, yet is a story of courage, love and family secrets. The story begins in 1990, set in Anatolia, a region of Turkey, when Orhan’s grandfather Kemal is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye. Kemal is the owner of a successful business making kilim rugs. Orhan inherits the business, but his beloved grandfather has left the family home to a 90-year-old women named Seda in an Armenian nursing home in Los Angeles. Orhan goes to Los Angeles to learn why his grandfather did this and hopefully what her relationship was with his grandfather. Orhan slowly gets Seda to tell him her story about the Armenian Genocide that took place in 1915 when the Armenian Christians were forced from their homes and massacred by the Turks in which Seda survived. Ohanesian navigates the reader through the past and future until each character is unveiled. I had no knowledge of the Armenian Genocide during WWI until I read this book and was surprised that this was not covered in any of my history classes. I highly recommend this book, although it does have some violence and sexual content and is hard to read at times.
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