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The Sandcastle Girls

di Chris Bohjalian

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
1,29214010,952 (3.9)70
"Parallel stories of a woman who falls in love with an Armenian soldier during the Armenian Genocide and a modern-day New Yorker prompted to rediscover her Armenian past"--
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» Vedi le 70 citazioni

Sandcastle Girls captured me from the very beginning with its historical backdrop. I've read other books by Bohjalian and enjoy his writing very much, but this one had more "meat" to it than some. I think I was first made aware of the Armenian genocide by Donna and was interested to read more about it even in a fictionalized account. Most Americans are probably unaware of this horrifying and heartbreaking episode in history. As for the fictional part, the author's device of switching back and forth from the present day Laura's story to past events in Turkey gave us a bit of needed reprieve from the constant barrage of evil that was perpetrated on the Armenians. Elizabeth's love story superseded all in the end, but was she right to keep the truth about his first wife from Armen? ( )
  NMBookClub | May 14, 2021 |
Elizabeth Endicott, fresh out of basic nursing training, arrives with her father in Aleppo, Syria, as part of a humanitarian effort to bring medical care and food supplies to besieged refugees. They were told that Armenian citizens are being deported to Syria from Turkey, but outside of the immediate region no one had any comprehension of the severity and shocking brutality of what was actually occurring. After meeting an Armenian man who has lost both his wife and daughter, Elizabeth becomes more invested in doing everything in her power to assist the Armenians and taking more of a personal stake in their fates.

In what I like to think of as welcome literary coincidence, within a day or two after I obliviously selected this novel to read, President Biden formally recognized the Armenian genocide for the first time since it occurred 1915-1917. I'm confident I would have enjoyed the story regardless, but knowing that definitely made it seem more poignant and relevant. It isn't far-fetched in hindsight to imagine the ways these annihilations likely inspired the Holocaust, and it's tragic that the rest of the world either didn't believe or didn't take seriously at that time what truly had happened. ( )
  ryner | May 5, 2021 |
This was a fictional account from the author's own grandparents of an actual event to learn about the Armenian genocide which occurred just before WW1. The book was confusing because the author kept switching between the present and the past within each chapter. A very descriptive story about the treatment of women and children, the horrors of war, and yet the determination of the human spirit to endure numerous tragedies to stay alive and find ways to continue living. ( )
  kshydog | Dec 13, 2020 |
Found this book interesting as it was about a period in history that I knew nothing about. Felt the ending could have been stronger. ( )
  eesti23 | Nov 6, 2020 |
A beautiful story, beautifully written, but a tough (and little known)subject. It is 1915 and Elizabeth Endicott, newly graduated from Mt. Holyoke, has traveled with her father, a Boston banker to the Ottoman Empire in order to help Armenian refugees who are being systematically eliminated from Turkey in what has since been called a genocide. The Endicotts are in over their heads in their innocence, their lack of experience or useful skills and their belief that the money they have donated on behalf of the Boston Friends of Armenia can make a dent in this war zone hell. Ultimately, Elizabeth does make an impact in the life of a woman refugee and a child she has come to foster on their death march. She also changes the course of her own life when she falls in love with an Armenian vigilante (Armen) and relives his experiences at the hands of the Turks. There is conflict between religions (Turkish Muslims eliminating Armenian Christians), historical information about WWI, and a surprisingly sympathetic view of Germans, despite their alliance with Turkey and the foreshadowing of their own turn at genocide in WWII. Two German soldiers in particular, Helmut and Eric, are appalled by the atrocities and photograph some of them to try to inform the Western World. What makes this story bearable is the narrator's distance from the events. The granddaughter of Elizabeth and Armen, Laura tries to piece together history and her grandparents' personal experiences, though they are no longer living. Like Sarah's Key, secrets are uncovered as the narrator becomes rather obsessed with untold events and her memories of her grandparents' lingering sadness. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
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"we shot our heretical need
to see the horror of the past
thru a wide-angled lens"

"You asked: If there is no one to listen to the story, what's left?
The blown-out ceiling with its tinge of Duccio-color?"

Peter Balakian,
"Sarajevo," from his collection Ziggurat
Dedica
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In memory of my mother-in-law, Sondra Blewer, 1931-2011, and my father, Aram Bohjalian, 1928-2011. Sondra urged me to write this novel, and my father helped to inspire it.
Incipit
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Prologue
When my twin brother and I were small children, we would take turns sitting on our grandfather's lap.
Part One "Chapter 1"
The Young woman, twenty-one, walks gingerly down the dusty street between her father and the American consul her in Aleppo, an energetic fellow almost her father's age named Ryan Donald Martin, and draws the scarf over her hair and her cheeks.
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"Parallel stories of a woman who falls in love with an Armenian soldier during the Armenian Genocide and a modern-day New Yorker prompted to rediscover her Armenian past"--

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Media: (3.9)
0.5
1 9
1.5 1
2 16
2.5 6
3 75
3.5 22
4 185
4.5 27
5 98

 

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