Saturday, September 7, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
By GREGORY COWLES
Published: February 1, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
About suffering, they were wrong,
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Fast forward to the present day, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents' ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed "The Ottoman Annex," Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura's grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family's history that reveals love, loss - and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Friday, March 1, 2013
I know what they say about secrets. I've heard it all. That they can haunt and govern you. That they can poison relationships and divide families. That in the end, only the truth will set you free. Maybe that's the case for some secrets. But I truly believed I was the exception to such portents, and never once breathed the smallest mention of my nearly two decadelong secret to anyone. Not to my closest friends in my most intoxicated moments or to my boyfriend Peter in our most intimate ones. I didn't even discuss it with my mother, the only person who was there when it all went down, almost as if we took an unspoken vow of silence, willing ourselves to let go, move on. I never forgot, not for a single day, yet I was also convinced that sometimes, the past really was the past.
Sometimes, I crave a well-written, light novel. This one perfectly fit that craving. A well-crafted, contemporary story--told in two time-frames. Not a perfect novel, not a tricky plot. Yet, I liked the characters for the most part, and I was routing for them. An ambiguous ending that pleased me because it didn't make an obvious or trite leap, but still left me hopeful.
That aside, I can't stop myself from commenting on how many novels I've read recently that skip back and forth between perspectives, between eras, between timeframes--sometime four or more timeframes. Enough already! It's O.K. to tell a story sequentially, chronologically. Two timeframes, three perspectives should be enough for any book. Really.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Friday, January 4, 2013
"Breathtakingly suspenseful and beautifully written, The Historian is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family's past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us from monasteries and dusty libraries to the capitals of Eastern Europe - in a feat of storytelling so rich, so hypnotic, so exciting that it has enthralled readers around the world."
"Never was a ghost story so casually erudite, nor a historical travelogue such gripping entertainment."
---New York Magazine
Skipping this book would have been such a great loss. I learned so much middle-eastern European / North African / Mediterranean history, and am fascinated to read and research more. We've traveled some in Hungary, France, The Carpathians... And, one tends to latch onto and be mesmerized by the somewhat familiar.
I figured out that Svaty Jur, Slovakia--near our son's family's home until recently-- is named for the very same St. George (Svety Georgi) who plays a pivotal role in the searches involved. It's the old Six Degrees (or less) of Separation.