The Knock at the Door: A Journey Through the Darkness of the Armenian Genocide

Margaret Ahnert, Author . Beaufort $24.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-8253-0512-2

This personal, homespun account by an American of Armenian descent interweaves two narratives in alternating chapters: Ahnert's mother Ester's firsthand description of coming-of-age during, and miraculously surviving, the Turkish-sponsored Armenian genocide of 1915, and the middle-aged author's own tender yet urgent reflections on her connection to the distant world of her 98-year-old mother. Ester's formidable personality, humor and abiding religious faith pervade Ahnert's debut, while the latter's fluid transcription of Ester's story provides a frank and searing testimony, as well as a vivid depiction of Armenian village life. While Ahnert's oral history doesn't offer a rigorous historical account or analysis of the systematic slaughter, but rather supplements works like Peter Balakian's The Burning Tigris and Taner Akcam's A Shameful Act , its force lies in the interplay between the narratives of mother and daughter. Together, their stories realize in intimate but accessible terms the vagaries of historical memory and Ester's determination to tell the truth despite the understandable urge among some victims to forget in the face of an official policy of denial from Turkey that continues today.. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/05/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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