This lyrical first novel examines three generations of Armenian American women alternately united and divided by the burdens of history as the narrative moves from early 20th-century Turkey to suburban Connecticut in the 1990s. Grandmother Casard Essayan, who alone of her family survived the 1915 Turkish massacre of Armenians, carries a burden of guilt that drives her daughter Araxie into a marriage with a non-Armenian, George Loon. Araxie's love-hate relationship with her mother fills her with inchoate longing echoed in her daughter, Seta, whose destiny beckons her to relieve her grandmother's guilt and to find the fulfillment that her mother lacks. Weaving these three lives together with the mythic and commonplace dimensions of Armenian life, this novel works as an acute study of mother-daughter relations, a paean to an often overlooked ethnic group in America, and a sensitive coming-of-age story. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.-- Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.
Edgarian's accomplished prose and potent themes strike an affirming note in this compelling multigenerational tale imbued with the "sadness . . . that keeps getting passed down in the blood." This is an allusion to the horrific events of 1915, when a million Armenians were annihilated, and it is the legacy of pain inherited by Seta Loon, the contemporary narrator and protagonist named by her grandmother Casard, who lost her real name the day she became an orphan. Amid Casard's haunting memories of choosing to live, even as she watched her own mother choose to die by drowning rather than be assaulted by the pursuing Turks, Seta's lifelong task will be learning how to embrace life. Fiction collections should expect a demand for Edgarian's first novel, a moving story of the highest caliber.