Some books on the Armenian genocide were translated from Armenian, some from Turkish, and some were originally in English. All of them are personal memoirs that are rooted in the tragic events of 1915. They involved the mass deportation of Armenians and their killing during World War I. These books are also about the fate of the survivors after those events.
Some of them were successful in escaping to the United States, while some stayed in Turkey. A few others took refuge in the Soviet Union. Now, let’s take a look at some of the powerful books that talk about the horrors of the Armenian Genocide:
1. My Grandmother by Fethiye Celin
When this book came out in the year 2004, it caused some stir in Turkey. The reason was that the Turks were confronted with the dead and living Armenians. It had an extraordinary story that broke the taboo almost overnight in the country. Many people in Turkey had Armenian grandparents who had survived as children from the barbaric deportations of 1915.
Later, the had been absorbed into the Turkish society. The author tells the tale of how her grandmother suddenly revealed the truth when she was in her mid-sixties. She wasn’t the Turkish lady, Seher, who her granddaughter believed to be. She revealed that she was an Armenian by the name Heranus.
2. Four Years in the Mountains of Kurdistan by Aram Haigaz
The story in this book is both Armenian and Kurdish. It’s a more recently published family memoir, which is now in the English language. The protagonists of the story were born at almost the same time. All of them were children when the genocide took place, but each one of them had different experiences.
Some managed to make it to the United States, while one goes to Armenia under the Soviet Union. Another one is absorbed completely into a Turkish family. One of them has an extraordinary tale to tell. He lives as a Kurd for several years and is eventually absorbed into the Kurdish household.
3. Burning Orchards by Gurgen Mahari
A beautifully written novel, Burning Orchards is a story told from the inside. It’s quite a satirical piece about the Armenian revolutionary parties. These parties played a key role in provoking the Turks, which culminated in the Armenian Genocide. A talented writer, Gurgen Mahari grew up in the Ottoman Empire and later went to Soviet Armenia.
He even spent many years as a political prisoner. When he came back to Yerevan, he wrote this autobiographical novel about Van of 1915. It was during this year that this city became the epicenter of the Armenian-Turkish violence.
4. Song of America by George M. Mardikian
Published in the 1950s, this book tells a powerful story of someone who has been through a lot. First it was the genocide, the second was immigration, and then starting a new life in the United States. Armenians are one of those communities whose national identity is associated with tragedy and martyrdom.
The Armenians are not alone. The Jews, the Irish, and the Palestinians have also gone through such tragedies. Armenia, Ireland, and Israel are the countries that have some tragic events at the center of their historical experience.