There Was and There Was Not: A Journey Through Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia, and Beyond

Meline Toumani. Metropolitan, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9762-7
Born in Iran and raised in the United States, Toumani always knew that she was first, an Armenian. Her childhood was punctuated by commemorations of the 1915 killing of Armenians by the Turkish government and resentment at Turkey's refusal to admit that this was an act of genocide. As Toumani enters adulthood, she begins to wonder if "there was a way to honor history without being suffocated by it." This leads to a two-year odyssey across Turkey in search of, not truth, but explanations. She learns that rather than acknowledging slaughter, Turkish history classes brand Armenians as traitors who had fought against Turkey in WWI and had been deported as a result. She makes Turkish friends who are eager to help her search but when she tells her aunt how kind they are to her, the woman is horrified. In the end, Toumani concludes that, if hate is all that holds a group together, there is no reason for it to exist. This book doesn't take sides but it does show what these old grudges do to people living. This is a powerful memoir with a message for all who were raised to see only one side of a story. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/24/2014
Release date: 11/04/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-8050-9763-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-07410-2
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