European Literary Network and Rosie Goldsmith: A harrowing and beautiful novel
A poignant and lyrical novel about an Armenian family, the 1915 massacres, and – through the story of its Romanian-Armenian author – the stories of the survivors and descendants.
It seems wrong to describe such a harrowing novel as beautiful – but it is. This is the fictional masterpiece about the Armenian genocide, narrated in heart-breaking, poignant and lyrical style by the prominent Romanian-Armenian author and politician. As a child Vosganian was told that he was “destined to be the family historian,” so based on archive research, witness testimony and his own biography, he semi-fictionalises the story of his grandfather Garabet, the main character. A century of stories ensues, of teeming village life, markets, ancestors, priests and shepherds, photographs, smells (the coffee! the spices!), sights and sounds, stopped so brutally in 1915. With the mass extermination of 1 ½ million Armenians by the Ottomans the old life is over. The family escape and become refugees in Romania. Whispers blow through the novel: they are both voices of love but also of death, secrecy and fear.