An imprint of O'Brien Press
May 5th 2014
In 1915, during the early part of the 20th century, Anyush Charcoudian can only dream of a life beyond the small Armenian village where she lives with her mother. Life is tough and opportunities are rare and the vision of future happiness for Anyush seems bleak and without hope. And as the First World War overwhelms a generation, the Armenian people are branded as enemies and Anyush’s love affair with a Turkish officer not only defies tradition but also hurtles the lovers into a struggle for survival at the very basic level.
What then follows is a powerful story of love and loss and of a country divided by the futility of war. The dreadful crimes which were perpetrated against the Armenians by the Turkish regime in the First World War are explained with an empathy which gives the books its strength and the horror of a proud people and the immense sadness which follows is both poignant and heartbreaking in equal measure.
The story is well written by an author who clearly knows her subject well; beautifully depicted, part narrative and part epistolary, through a series of letters and diary entries, the story moves smoothly between different time frames and even though narrated in different voices, ultimately, what really shines through is the power of love, and the overwhelming burden of sadness and loss depicted on an epic scale.
In this centenary year of the start of WW1, this is a commendable and timely debut novel and it is a story which lingers long after the last page is turned.
My thanks to Real Readers for the opportunity to read this book in advance of its publication.
About the Author
Martine Madden was born in Limerick, worked in Dublin and later moved to the United Arab Emirates with her husband John. The stories recounted to her by the Armenian diaspora there prompted her interest in Armenian history and formed the basis of the novel Anyush.