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A beautiful, wrenching debut novel chronicling the life of a family struggling for survival during the Armenian genocide in Turkey, in 1915.
At the center: Yerwant, who, at thirteen, left his home in the Anatolian hills of Turkey to study at an Armenian boarding school in Venice. Now, in May 1915, after forty years, he is planning a long-awaited reunion with his family at their homestead, Skylark Farm. But while joyful preparations for Yerwant’s arrival are being made in the town of his birth, Italy enters the Great War and closes its borders. At the same time, in Turkey, Yerwant’s family begins a brutal odyssey of forced marches and prison camps, hunger and humiliation at the hands of the Young Turks who are determined to rid their nation of minorities. In the unfolding story we follow Yerwant’s family as it struggles to survive and as four of its children set out on a dangerous and daring course of their own: to reach Yerwant, and safety, in Italy.
Antonia Arslan draws on the story of her own family to tell the story of Skylark Farm. She has transformed the “obscure memories” that are her heritage into a novel as lyrical and poignant as a fable.
“Pertinent and provocative. . . It's Arslan's precise, vibrant description and sumptuous language that animate every facet of this world touched by death and terror. . . . A finely wrought elegy of her family's survival.”—Chicago Tribune
“A powerful account. . . . In the end, [survival tempers] the story with transforming heroism.”—Bloomberg