A powerfully original, poetically wrought first novel about the disappearance of a village during the Armenian genocide begun in 1915-the debut of a brilliant literary stylist.
"Spectacularly gifted, tender, wise, and terrible in rage, Micheline Marcom has woven a heart-rending tapestry from the lost time, lost places, and lost voices of the Armenian genocide."
Here is a novel of import and style, set in 1915-1917, the years of the Ottoman Turkish government's campaign of unspeakable brutality that resulted in the deaths of more than a million Armenians. Through a series of chapters that have the weight and economy of poetry, Micheline Aharonian Marcom introduces us to the stories of Anaguil, an Armenian girl taken in by Turkish neighbors after the death of her parents and who now views the remains of her world through a Muslim veil; Sargis, a poet hidden away in his mother's attic, dressed in woman's clothing, and steadily going mad; Lucine, a servant and lover of the American consul, reviled by the villagers for the illusory privilege she enjoys; Maritsa, a rage-filled Muslim wife who leaves her husband while he is at the front and becomes a whore; and Dickran, an infant left behind under a tree on the long exodus from an Armenian village, whose tiny hands reach up to touch the stars, who dies with his name unrecorded. Through these lives, we witness the vanishing of a people.
In pages replete with indelible images of beauty and horror, Marcom conjures the steam and the gossip of the hamam, the ghostly fragrance of rose petal preserves, and the metallic chill of fear. Her novel is an elegy to the final days of Orientalism and an elegant memorial to the victims of the twentieth century's first genocide. Together, the stories of these lives form a narrative mosaic-faceted, complex, exquisite in its detail, a devastating tableau.
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Micheline Aharonian Marcom was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Los Angeles. She works as a counselor in the Upward Bound program, a federally funded college-preparatory program for low-income high school youth.Review:
“The fierce beauty of her prose both confronts readers with many breathtaking cruelties and carries us past them...But the novel is much more than a catalog of horrors, however brilliantly described. It is also about love and tenderness, the pleasures of custom and ritual, the moments of unexpected generosity and courage and, above all, the necessity of remembering oneself, one’s family, one’s language, one’s history.” Margot Livesey, The New York Times Book Review
“Powerful...Marcom’s writing is intensely poetic.” Washington Post Book World
“An exquisite, vivid, heartbreaking book...breathtaking.” Cristina Garcia, author of The Aguero Sisters
“Marcom opens up a human and historical drama in startling ways. This is an impressive debut.” Peter Balakian, author of Black Dog of Fate
“Like those who write about the Jewish Holocaust, Marcom faces the well-nigh impossible task of speaking the unspeakable; unlike them, she cannot count on her readers to be familiar with the outlines of the story already. She rises to this double challenge not with a diatribe or a lengthy historical account but by writing a relatively short, intensely vivid, novel...as we turn the pages of this dark and brilliant book, we feel ourselves to be in the presence of a noble act.” Margot Livesey, The New York Times Book Review
“Chronicles the 20th century’s first genocide with an unnervingly effective blend of imagination, artistry and grisly historical fact...these unsparingly visceral vignettes assume an almost unbearable potency.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Lyrical...from the start you feel as though you are in the presence of an authentic voice, in this case a voice that weeps and wails and growls and shouts and chants and moans and sings about the 20th Century’s first but least-known ethnic massacre...Marcom is so talented...[Three Apples Fell From Heaven] will stay with its readers a good long while.” Chicago Tribune
“A disturbing, powerful work...Marcom’s writing is intensely poetic...The effect is surreal, imparting the sense of how it is to continue living when all normal things have gone awry.” Washington Post Book World
“Reading Three Apples Fell From Heaven, I can believe that poetry can stop war. Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s elegy to the Armenian dead her family, her people, precious individual lives sings so strong, rings so true that surely the hell of genocide can never happen again. She has written an invaluable work in this age of devastation.” Maxine Hong Kingston
“[A] heartbreaking, beautiful, painful first novel...the highly mannered style manifests a debt to the postmodern novel and the fairy tale, resulting in something between a cry and a reminiscence. This book is not for the faint of heart, but its readers will be well rewarded.” Publishers Weekly
“Micheline Aharonian Marcom has woven a heartrending tapestry from the lost time, lost places, and lost voices of the Armenian genocide. Spectacularly gifted, tender, wise, and terrible in rage, Marcom has produced a powerful novel that attempts to retrieve one of the most infamous crimes of the twentieth century from the event horizon of history.” Junot Díaz, author of Drown
“This is an exquisite, vivid, heartbreaking book. It lushly restores one’s soul while giving voice to the many silenced souls of the Armenian genocide.” Cristina Garcia, author of The Aguero Sisters and Dreaming in Cuban
“Micheline Aharonian Marcom has written a poetic and inventive novel set in eastern Turkey, in the epicenter of the Armenian genocide of 1915. With a Joycean affinity for detail, character, and cultural nuance, Marcom opens up a human and historical drama in startling ways. This is an impressive debut.” Peter Balakian, author of Black Dog of Fate
“[Marcom] has chosen an unusual structure, a tapestry of many vignettes that depict a shattered Armenian culture and way of life through the memories of victims and bystanders, those who hid, those who died, and those who tried vainly to help...her story has a certain brutal force that stays in the memory.” Kirkus Reviews
“As a third-generation American-Armenian, Micheline Aharonian Marcom bears the weight of her own family history with extraordinary grace...moving...Marcom doesn’t resort to sentiment or shock tactics, but lovingly renders each scene with slow, languorous rhythms.” The Guardian (London)
“Animated by a resolve that ancestral stories will not be forgotten, and that those who are dead will continue to be cherished.” The Daily Telegraph (London)
“Powerful.” Scotland on Sunday
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Book Description HarperCollins. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0006514898