Monday, April 24, 2017

Remembering the Armenian Genocide

As the Poppies Bloomed: A Novel of Love in a Time of Fear ~ by Maral Boyadjian, 2015, fiction (Turkey), 9/10
It is 1913 and late summer in the Ottoman Empire.  The sun rises, full and golden, atop a lush, centuries-old village tucked into the highlands where the blood-red poppies bloom.  Outside the village leader's home, the sound of voices carries past the grapevines to the lane where Anno, his youngest daughter, slips out unseen. She heads to a secret meeting place.  She forgets that enemies surround her village.  She forgets that her father meets each day with trepidation.  She knows only the love she has for Daron, who waits for her as she hastens to him, once again breaking the ancient rules of courtship.  Anno and Daron wish for nothing more than marriage and a better day alongside their neighbors, but neither is prepared for the dark, dangerous secret that Daron's father keeps or the upheaval that will soon envelop their village, their land, and their hearts.
Armenian Genocide forget-me-not symbol
It's been 102 years since the Armenian Genocide.  Did you learn about it in school?  I didn't, but this book made it real to me.  One woman blogged today about her grandfather surviving that 1915 genocide.  She also includes a link to what she posted in 2015:  Azad’s Story: A Child’s Experience of the Armenian Genocide, if you'd like to read what her grandfather remembered all his life.


Helen's Book Blog said...

Do you think this book would work for teenagers? A friend has her AP World History students read historical fiction after the AP exam and I bet she doesn't have a book for the Armenian genocide.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Probably not. What came to mind when I read your question was a scene where a fighter is raping a small girl with her head all wrapped up so she can't scream. I think it may show the horror of genocide too vividly.

I had my college-level religions of the world classes read Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, a 1956 novel about the partition of India and Pakistan. It's about a village where three or four religions got along with each other for generations before being torn apart.

Sorry I don't know another novel about the Armenian genocide to suggest.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

My friend Donna says it doesn't sound like too much for teens in AP classes. I taught college-age, but she taught middle school English for 20+ years and would know about teens better than I do.

Poem fanatic said...

I actually never learned about the Armenian Genocide either. I love history though, so I'm definitely going to be picking up this book !