By Chris Bojalian
I had no idea.
First, let me say, this author can write a story. And he’s written some really great novels over the last 20 years. But this story is one I’d call Important, rather than simply great. Not gonna lie, it’s a hard story to read because of the subject matter. I had no idea.
The story partially takes place in the present, but also during WWI, depicting people in the midst of the Armenian Genocide. I knew the term: Armenian Genocide…but I cannot say enough that I HAD NO IDEA.
It was largely unreported when it happened, back in the early 1900s…and it’s still largely untaught in the annals of history, getting swallowed up by the vastness of WWI. Under cover of that war, the Turks decided to get rid of all the Armenians in their country. Sort of like Hitler did in the next world war, a mere 20 years later. We hear much about Hitler’s terrors, but the terrors executed by the Turks against the Armenians were just as bad. 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a few short years, and some nations still refuse today, to acknowledge that it even happened. And disturbingly, there are roots of the Nazi regime to be found in these last days of the Ottoman empire, circa 1915.
This novel was written by an Armenian, about an Armenian love story occurring during this horrible, little known pocket of history. It’s thoroughly researched, very well-written, and framed in an interesting way – with a modern woman searching through the unspoken history of her family.
It’s beautiful and bitter. Sweet and sour. Reading Sandcastle Girls is like eating Salmon. Some people will really like it. Some will avoid it at all costs. But either way, it’s good for you and you’ll be satisfied when you’ve finished it. But it’s not chocolate cake.
Also, guess what? I got to hear Chris Bojalian give a talk (last night!) about the history, his research, some family stories, and why it’s important to remember. In addition to being a multi-talented author, he’s a great teacher and a super generous, personable guy. And just a little fan-girling moment for you: he posted a photo on Insta of me and my book club with him at the event. Yes he did. 🙂
(aren’t we cute? I love these ladies!)
Highly recommend this novel, but I’d put a PG-15 rating on it. It’s worth the read! It should be read, because if history is forgotten, it’s more likely to be repeated and that, we cannot allow to happen.
Want to find your copy? Click here.
Content: some graphic cruelty, not much language, one sex scene