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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

Title: Orhan's Inheritance
Author: Aline Ohanesian
Publisher: Algonquin Books
ISBN: 978-1-61620-530-0 / Paperback
Publication Date: Jan 19, 2016

From the publisher: When Orhan's brilliant and eccentric grandfather dies, Orhan learns he's inherited the decades-old kilim rug business.  But the will raises more questions than it answers: his grandfather Kemal has left the family estate neither to his son Mustafa nor to his grandson Orhan but to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles.

Left with only his grandfather's ancient sketchbook and intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles to get some answers.  There, over many meetings, he unearths the story that Seda so closely guards -- a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and a way of life that has vanished forever. 

Orhan's Inheritance is a remarkable debut novel that moves between 1915 in the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, pulling back the curtain on a significant and devastating chapter of history that has been silenced for many years.  Aline Ohanesian knows this history well: when she was just a child, her Armenian great-grandmother told her of their family's dramatic exile from Turkey during the Armenian genocide.  She's taken her family hisotry as a starting point but breathed into it a novel full of love and heartbreak, war and recovery, crimes and their reparations. 

My thoughts: Once I started this book it was very hard for me to put it down.  I was as invested as Orhan was in finding out why his grandfather had left their estate to a woman in the United States. As Orhan travels to the U.S., we slowly begin to learn Seda's history as a child and how she and Kemal knew one another.  It is fascinating and heartbreaking all at the same time.  Both Seda's family and Kemal's family was unaware of the true history of where they came from, and slowly Orhan is able to get this truth from Seda. I was unaware of the Armenian genocide that occurred in the 1910's but to have lived through it would have been devastating.  

This was a very quick read and shed light on some history of which I was unaware.  I would definitely recommend picking this one up!



~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Algonquin Books in exchange for my unbiased review.~

2 comments:

Vicki said...

I haven't seen this book before that I can recall, but it's going on my list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Deb PelletierC said...

The book sounds interesting, thanks for the info.

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