The Gimmicks

Chris McCormick. Harper, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-290856-8
McCormick’s rambling debut novel (after the story collection Desert Boys) shows the continued influence of the Armenian genocide of 1915 far into the 20th century. The author dramatizes how it affects three teenage characters growing up in a village in Soviet Armenia in the 1970s: Ruben Petrosian, a teenager who lives to play backgammon; Mina Bagossian, his gaming rival; and Avo Gregoryan, Ruben’s cousin, who’s bigger than most kids and comes to live with the Petrosian family after the death of his parents in an industrial accident. Despite being opposites, both physically and temperamentally, the two cousins become as close as brothers, just as Avo and Mina fall in love. Ruben and Avo are eventually recruited by a secret Armenian liberation group that seeks vengeance for the 1915 genocide. Forced to leave Mina behind, Avo is sent to America, where he grows disillusioned with the cause and becomes—what else, given his size—a professional wrestler. In 1989, Mina contacts Avo’s former wrestling manager to find out what happened to her one-time love. The novel covers much ground, geographically and historically, but never fully pulls together its disparate story elements. Still, there are enough secrets, lies, and betrayals to keep the reader turning the pages. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/04/2019
Release date: 01/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-290857-5
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