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Journey to Virginland - Epistle I

Journey to Virginland - Epistle I

3.9 20
by Armen Melikian

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At turns heartbreaking and diabolically funny, Journey to Virginland is a tour de force, delivered by a master storyteller.

The protagonist, a loutish and uber-cerebral antihero known simply as Dog, takes on the challenge to navigate the perilous paradigm shifts of our age, determined to find his proper place under the sun. Is he doomed to failure? Or will he


At turns heartbreaking and diabolically funny, Journey to Virginland is a tour de force, delivered by a master storyteller.

The protagonist, a loutish and uber-cerebral antihero known simply as Dog, takes on the challenge to navigate the perilous paradigm shifts of our age, determined to find his proper place under the sun. Is he doomed to failure? Or will he pull it off by heeding his own irreducible voice, given the ebb of the old certainties?

Dog pursues the answer unrelentingly, through an impassioned quest for identity and meaning. He revisits his relationships with women, family, literature, and homeland, in the process illuminating his journey with commentaries on history, religion, politics, and culture that unravel our very fabric.

Marked by biting satire and tappings into lushest scholarship, Dog’s naked critique touches on some of the most pressing issues facing humanity: the arrogance of empire and organized religion; the persistence of bigotry, xenophobia, and social Darwinism; the double standards of sexual politics; the bankrupt rationale behind patriotism and state propaganda; and hypercapitalism and consumerism, among others.

An ocean of struggles and epiphanies takes Dog to a spiritual ground zero called Virginland, where the story unfolds. It is also in Virginland that Dog unearths an ancient calendar based on a cosmic worldview. His discovery reveals the mythological underpinnings of the Zodiac, subverting the current conventional wisdom about the subject.

What emerges from the protagonist’s odyssey is not only a cogent depiction of what makes us tick, but, as day follows night, a dazzling new vista for social and spiritual transformation.

With its vibrant style, thematic breadth, and, ultimately, unfettered sense of humanity, Journey to Virginland establishes itself as a groundbreaking literary enterprise and a true original.

Product Details

Two Harbors Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Armen Melikian (b. 1963) is one of those rare thinkers whose intensity of passion matches their sharp wit and intellect. His poignant observations take to task the core tenets of metaideologies and jockeying civilizations, helping to discard layer after layer of entrenched misinformation and dogma. Melikian brings a fresh, prodigiously layered voice to contemporary literature, not only expanding the boundaries of the novelistic endeavor as an artistic medium per se, but infusing it with extraordinary urgency and relevance in terms of sociopolitical, cultural, religious, and philosophical thought as well as mythological exegesis. Melikian earned a Master's in International Relations from American University, Washington, D.C. He also studied mathematics at Harvard and elsewhere. However, he eventually abandoned both politics and mathematics in favor of literature and dedicated his life to writing. Melikian lives in Los Angeles.

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Journey to Virginland - Epistle I 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
basilides1 More than 1 year ago
What an amazing piece of work! Reading it, I was reminded of Notes from Underground and the narrator's assertion that "reason is nothing but reason and satisfies only the rational side of man's nature." In other words, the only way to survive the post 9/11 world is to be a child of unreason. Luckily we've got Dog for that, a kind of Céline for modern times, setting off every moral compass and hyprocrisy like a stick of dynamite. Here's a personal favorite of mine: "They love the dead, hate the living. They kill to love--a nation of unfulfilled necrophiliacs." This is from a description of Paradise, but it could very well be anywhere today. I think what's most fascinating and enduring about the novel's cosmology (And what a cosmology it is! Equal parts Animal Farm and Finnegan's Wake!) is not what separates East and West but what they have in common. A life in Satanland may not carry the threat of constant insurrection, but you will die a little bit each day. Orwell wrote Animal Farm at a time when Stalin was at the height of his popularity in the West. Nobody knew about the Gulag and he was largely considered, next to England and France, one of our chief allies. Fortunately, Orwell blew the top off that one. It's difficult for people to see the truth, but sometimes a work of literature holds up a mirror and forces us to look. I believe Journey to Virginland is one of those works.
kim0712 More than 1 year ago
Let me preface my review by saying that this book, while it is very good, is not for someone that is a light reader. I read a lot, and found myself re-reading portions so I could understand what was going on. Having said that, this book was absolutely intriguing and if you stick with it, I think you will really enjoy it. This book is a definite page turner and very fast paced, so you have to keep up! Dog is the character created in the book and is drifting about in a dreamland called The Republic of Virginland on a type of self-discovery. As he moves about, he studies other people and critiques their motivations and tries to figure out what it means to be human. What motivates us to make the decisions we do? The author combines both biblical and fictional places, such as Satinland, to give the reader a very biting glimpse at how the western civilization and the interaction between the sexes and cultures has led to numerous questions about Gods existence. This book is sometimes funny and witty and at others very poetic and thought provoking. I truly enjoyed reading it and I'm looking forward to reading others by Melikian.
busymommylist More than 1 year ago
I have to say I agree with most of what is written in this book. At first, I was alarmed when I opened it and saw my country, (the USA), mapped as "Satanland", and being the patriotic person I am, I started thinking "Who does he think he is??", lol, but, I started reading and couldn't stop. It ends up, I agree, and the book is about the authors views on society as a whole, not just Satanland, and funny, yes, hilarious even, and extremely witty!! The author writes in such a way that will keep you reading the next page before you finish the one you're really on! Flows wonderfully, and will keep your mind busy! I have to laugh because there are people who say they want to know is this book for them, well, maybe! But if you end up not liking this book, or taking offense, well, I have to say, it's about you, my friend;)
dadofdivas More than 1 year ago
This is a book that was a page turner. Not only was the plot intriguing, but the book made you think deeply about the underlying philisophical, historical and sybolic aspects of the book itself. Do know though that this book is not for the light reader. This book will take some digesting and you will have to take the time to get through it to completely understand everything that is being shared by the author. As a lover of books, this book is one that I believe will stand the test of time. You will be amazed at the prose and how well the book flows. If you are like me and enjoy a great read that challenges as well as entertains, this book is for you!
khale46 More than 1 year ago
From the first page I was pulled in and intrigued by the oddities I was reading. Not a typical romance, mystery or even suspense novel – this book takes a look at things from a level I’ve never went to. From the viewpoint of Dog – we see a fictional world that mirrors our own in many ways. Imagine complete blatant honesty without worry of censorship about religion, sexuality, war, politics and relationship and you will have a good idea of the book I am speaking of today. Some might say Dog is full of sadness and should be pitied for his view of this fictional Virginland (albeit somewhat mirrored image of America). For myself – I think that Dog uses what most of us do just to manage each day – a bit of humor, a lot of inner strength and a wee bit of motivational disgust with how things are. Journey to Virginland holds a raw bit of honesty for each of us. Whether it be your take on the political situation – our military – the ridiculous “wars” we have fought in recent years or simple relationships with the opposite sex – you can find a niche in this book to sink your teeth into. Following Dog through the 3 year journey that is upside down and opposite of what we generally see (or admit to seeing) was eye opening and motivating. As a Christian – the theme was harsh at times and boldly made me swallow my pride and admit wrongness in areas. I fear some would consider it blasphemous in the conversations between Dog and God or Dog and Satan – but in all honesty – I feel it’s MORE honest and real than the faux “prayers” we see commonly spouted. One passage regarding “Paradise” and the changes therein struck me deeply: “Truly there has come into being a society which is of no use to imperialists. Paradise has gone from an ‘open museum’ to an open orduretum. The lotus withers, dogs suffocate, life goes kaput.” How true these words are in reference to our supposed Paradise. Again – I am shocked to read a book of this honesty, this caliber literately, this brilliance in today’s time. Highly reviewed by scholars and authors worldwide – I know it has impacted and will impact lives. I only wish it could become the “Twilight” of this time – a book that sweeps across the social classes and impacts everyone opening their eyes to the destruction WE have created in our world – the lies we have covered up and the hypocrisy that plagues what use to be Christianity and Faith.
lavioleteyes More than 1 year ago
"Great book, kept me reading from beginning to end. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a creative, entertaining read. The world's history in a different light, according to Dog."
littlerightleg More than 1 year ago
This well written satire was a joy to read. It is about the main character, Dog, who is on a journey to find the meaning of life and self discovery. He is a very deep, raw character, and I highly believe a little bit of everyone lives in Dog. Melikian will rivet you into Dogs journey and you will not want to leave. Journey to Virginland is a book where one must not get offended . Melikian gives the reader a myriad of topics to reflect on as they travel with Dog on his journey. Dog lashes out on religion, gender roles, sexuality, leadership, politics and the reader must be willing to laugh with it. The Reader must go into the book with an open mind, and relish the wit and sarcasm of Dog. This is my kind of humor, I love when people can poke fun at themselves, and other people; and Dog is an equal opportinity employer when it comes to his His sarcasm will make you snicker and thinking as you turn pages. There were times in the reading where I would have to go back and reread a paragraph or two. This is not an easy read for someone to read in there last minutes of falling asleep- I stayed up quite late to make sure I could finish it uninterrupted. I always can tell of a good book when I find myself thinking about the book after I have read it; and this was one book where my mind would not shut off.
Kinder More than 1 year ago
I will not lie and say that it's an easy book to read- it's not. The constant flow of high vocabulary and dry wit will leave you feeling either smarter having read it or like you should read it with a dictionary. Sure, I didn't understand quite a few words but once I looked them up, I could finally understand what Dog was talking about. Anyways, it's an interesting look into the society we know today. While constantly trying to figure out the world, Dog takes a good look at himself and takes stock of what he has experienced, what he thinks about religion, politics, and of course, sex. While I personally agreed with a few things, some might feel offended. It isn't a book for everyone, but Melikian pulls the reader in and doesn't let go. If you research some of the areas (such as Virginland or Paradise), you will find that in reality, they do exist in some part of the world. While it is a work of fiction, you can't help but think that maybe there is some truth to it. Melikian's writing will shake the very fabric of literature, enticing readers to take notice.
SevBlack More than 1 year ago
Any attempt to tell or to describe what you read is hopeless. You must read it and then wait for next two epistles. Actually, we tend to exaggerate what we liked but one couldn't find any ways to exaggerate this epic manuscript about this great and miserable world.
Trista More than 1 year ago
Did the synopsis leave you confused? Do not worry, me too! Let me put what this book is about in normal people terms : Some really smart guy, the author, uses really big words in a dystopian type of book. He pulls from all the cultural differences that the world has and lays them out for us using literature. The author portrays the main character, Dog, as a single traveling man who is caught up in all the bias the world places on one another. As I read the novel I could honestly say I could pinpoint what culture he was talking about while telling his tale. Journey to Virginland does make you think and wonder how in the world there are such different perspectives on life and how people live their lifestyles. Although we live in a rural area, we travel a lot when we can go. I am very outgoing, loud and stick out like a sore thumb with my blonde hair. Some people give me the stare down while we are in other countries, but it is the cultural differences between countries and religions. As Dog traveled through the fictional world and discussed how the views of women were, I understood why I was getting the 'stink eye' from people. Even though Dog's world is fictional, it definitely combines real life experiences and honest to goodness real impressions people have on others. ARC.
s8r8l33 More than 1 year ago
Wow just wow. The book will have your mind racing and you with have to re read a page and ask your self "Did I just read that right?". I was taken in and this book will have you guessing all the way threw it. I felt like I was on a trip and I didn't even leave my recliner lol.
CozyLittleBookJournal More than 1 year ago
Despite having what could be the worst book description ever written (hit the jump to read it in full), with a snark factor akin to those Facebook memes that start, "I'm sure 98% of you won't care enough to re-post this..." Journey to Virginland falls short. I expected it to at least live up to its own claim that it's a smart book for smarties and if you don't like it, it's because you're a dumb dummy who didn't get it, but it didn't. It's just a dull book with a convoluted idea and a lot of polysyllabic words. It's essentially Tyra Banks' Modelland with a half-assed attempt at religio-political commentary and a thesaurus. As one review put it, if you want a scathing religious satire with a great vocabulary, read Salman Rushdie, not Armen Melikian. Armen Melikian's description of the book in his LibraryThing giveaway (verbatim): Description: Enter ONLY IF you love 1. reading a book with highly advanced vocabulary, 2. thinking all along, 3. doing a very serious reading (its NOT a light read), 4. grappling with philosophical concepts and your philosophy of life and morality, 5. reading ferocious religious satire that will disrespect and destroy your religious identity, and 6. would love avant-garde that turns upside down the conventions of the novel. This is NOT a traditional novel with a smooth or chronological narrative. You will need to read the book twice. YOU WILL BE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED IF LOOKING FOR A MASS-MARKET, USER-FRIENDLY, SMOOTH READING. If that's the case, DO NOT ENTER, do not even bother. Some college education would be a plus. Please do not be offended by this requirement. most readers are on a par with the book. The author does not cherish wasting your time. If you'll come back to tell the author "I hate your book with all my guts because I don't understand anything, or because it's avant-garde, or because it's not like Nora Roberts, or because its too philosophical, or because I can't read it in the subway, or because it disrespects my religion, then please do yourself and the author and the other readers a favor by kindly not reading this particular book. The author feels the obligation to warn you that the book is all of the above and more. You'll have a happier life without it. So you see? Don't even bother to criticize this book because if you do, everyone will know you're just a moron who didn't understand it. What a pompous ass. Oh, and all of the spelling mistakes and typos above are his, by the way. I copied and pasted it directly from the LibraryThing giveaway page. I particularly love the fact that he's trying to be condescending about how smart he is, but he still used the incorrect "its" ("its NOT a light read" should be "it's..."). For more reviews, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher/author through the LibraryThing Members Giveaway program. I was asked to post an honest review (though not necessarily a favourable one). The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
ChrystalMahan More than 1 year ago
I’m not philosophical. I try to be. I am not a scientist, or a mathematician, despite working on a Masters degree. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi -futuristic type novels. But, I try to be open minded about them. When I requested to be a part of the read and review group for Journey to Virginland Epistle 1, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. None. At first it was really hard for me to get a grasp on. I was intrigued by this life of Dog and the quest for life and its meaning. I like to think myself intelligent so please don’t let this steer you away from reading this novel. You might enjoy it. For the record, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, it was more that I did/could not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It was for me personally, a difficult read. I read it. Taking the words for nothing more than surface value. If I strayed from that I was going from book to Nook Tablet to laptop trying to do a little research in order to connect the dots on what I thought was real vs. what was purely fiction. I felt because I was not a philosophy, religion, or history major I just didn’t get some of the remarks that were made. Because of this I did not have a full grasp of the story being told. Despite that, the story was still amazing, at least what I could understand. It was completely intriguing, and I was so excited to read it because the publisher’s description painted a very vivid picture. It really made me wonder what life would be like in the future. So, it might seem I am a bit torn. I liked it, even though I did not understand a lot of it, but I did grasp the general idea. I didn’t like it because it made me feel ridiculous about questioning my own intelligence.
s_gallegos More than 1 year ago
This was a very difficult read for me. I had an extremely hard time getting into the story since I was too busy going back and forth researching and looking up what the philosophical or historical references meant! However, the parts that I was able to grasp really had me intrigued and do make you think about your own life and how you feel about it or in what direction you are headed. I am not at all a religious person, however, I like many others wonder about our existance and going through the journey that Dog went through in this story made me question what my future will be like.
GypsyMamaLogs1 More than 1 year ago
This tale of dog explores the hypocrisy that we all seem so willing to pass a blind eye to as we meander through life. While I found many of dog’s insights into religion intriguing, I am sure many would be offended by the candor. If you are looking for a light read, or are easily offended by irreverent treatment of religion, than this might not be the book for you…… to EVERYONE else, I can not recommend this book enough!!!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite Dog looks back through time and examines events of the past in his quest to find his own self-identity. The reader follows along as Dog journeys to Virginland, which becomes the setting for this tale. Dog is a creature searching for his own individuality and his place in the world. He can only find what he searches for by examining his past relationships. While he revisits those relationships he also examines other humans’ convictions, beliefs and values. Through his journey he scrutinizes unrelenting concerns confronting humankind. A few of the issues Dog examines are authority, religion, racism, nationalism, biological superiority, double standards, loyalty or the lack of it and greed. Armen Melikian’s tale is filled with allegory, conjectures and speculation. This book is written in a unique manner. While I do not agree with some of Dog's convictions, I do recognize the brilliance in this author’s writings. We all face times when we wonder why we exist - what our purpose for being is. Melikian’s character, Dog, journeys to discover the answer to those questions. Journey to Virginland will leave the reader pondering. This clever and interesting book will force the reader to examine their own lives and motivations.
SteveCapell More than 1 year ago
This fictional account of the character Dog took me on a physiological journey to places, ideas, metaphors, and wonders that I could only dream about. Dog is on a journey to find the implications of life and self discovery. He is a very deep and unrefined character that invades our own ideas and understandings concerning topics of religion, politics, sexuality, men, women, and leadership. I read every book with a completely open mind and allow the author through their characters interact with me and draw me into the story. I believe that in order to find the humor of Dog this is very important to read the sarcasm of Dog and allow the humor to unfold in your mind. Dog is a character that will take these subjects and dissect them like a frog in high school biology glass. The reader will walk away from the book feeling like maybe something is still left clinging to their soul that will not wash off. I will admit that I had to go back and read several of the pages over the second time to be completely engulfed by the wit and humor of the subject. The writing is raw, descriptive, and poetic at times, and just flowed beautifully. The subject matter will invade your sense of moral absolutes and twist and turn your inner thoughts like a Kansas twister. I highly recommend this book to readers that are willing to read this novel with a open mind and savor the humor as Dog invades your understanding of life. In accordance with new FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers I am disclosing the following: I was given a copy of this book by the author and I am being paid to review this book. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Becca71 More than 1 year ago
I have to say when I originally read the book cover to this book I was excited to get my hands on it. However on starting it I found the book to be rather confusing to me. I held out thinking it would begin to make sense but by the third chapter I realized I was in over my head. I had I really hard time following the book and was perpetually confused though out the entire read even after rereading several passages I was still lost. Though the book is well written for someone of my average intelligence it went way over what I could comprehend and left me confused. For those of you who I know are way more intelligent then me you may find the book to be a great read and I encourage you to give it a look however for someone like me who is a simple girl I found myself way out of my league and really didn’t understand most of what was happening. So my final say on this book though well written and very in depth it left me feeling confused and lacking in my ability to understand the plot.
Klm39 More than 1 year ago
This book is many things, one of which is a very intriguing read, and not one for those who like light and airy writing. Journey is sad and funny and altogether crushing at times. The author is really an amazing writer. The subject of the book is an extremely smart but loutish and character known simply as Dog. Dog pursues the answers to his questions about life, his place on Earth and other such subjects and does so at an unrelenting pace. His quest for identity and meaning in the universe causes him to revisit everything about his life, including his relationships with women, family, literature, and homeland. While doing so he has an abundance of commentary about history, religion, politics, and culture that unravel our very fabric. Dog resides in a world called The Republic of Virginland and he travels about studying other people and trying to understand their motivations and how they relate to him as a human being. The author combines both biblical and fictional places, such as Satinland, to explain to the reader how the western civilization and the interaction between the sexes and cultures has led to numerous questions about Gods existence. If you are looking for a highly praised book that will utilize all your thought processes regarding life, the Universe and how we came to be, you will love Journey to Virginland.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago