A Summer Without Dawn

Agop J Hacikyan, Author, Jean-Eves Soucy, Author, A J Hacikyan, Author, Le Vernoy and Joyce Bailey Christina, Translator
Agop J. Hacikyan and Jean-Yves Soucy, trans. from the French by Christina Le Vernoy and Joyce Bailey, Interlink, $20 (548p) ISBN 978-156656-802-9
Reviewed on: 05/31/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
In this sweeping, well-crafted historical, Canadian authors Hacikyan and Soucy recreate the 1915 Armenian genocide through the eyes of a young family. When orders come down to leave their Muslim-Christian town of Sivas (to "purify Anatolia of foreigners"), Vartan Balian—a 38-year-old Armenian medical officer in the Ottoman army and a former writer of revolutionary Armenian history—must decide how to follow the sultan's dictates and also protect his wife, Maro, and their six-year-old son, Tomas. Before he can make his move, however, Vartan is arrested in conjunction with a failed Armenian rebellion, while Maro and Tomas are forced into a wretched convoy of deportees. Saved from execution by his boyhood friends, Vartan assumes the identity of a Turkish lieutenant and goes on the run. Meanwhile, Maro and Tomas are seized by a Turkish governor and pressed into his polygamous harem. Though somewhat didactic, this richly textured work is exciting and horrifying, infused with lust, betrayal, vengeance, and plenty of bloody mayhem. (July)