Orhan's Inheritance (Hardcover)

By Aline Ohanesian

Algonquin Books, 9781616203740, 352pp.

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

April 2015 Indie Next List

“Debut author Ohanesian's historical novel relives the nearly forgotten tragedy of the Armenian genocide during and after WWI. Through deportations, massacres, and executions of Christian and Jewish Armenians, the Ottoman Empire and its successors eliminated 1.5 million citizens. Ohanesian's beautifully written book shares a tale of passionate love, unspeakable horror, incredible strength, and the hidden stories that haunt a family. Highly recommended.”
— Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA
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Description

They found him inside one of seventeen cauldrons in the courtyard, steeping in an indigo dye two shades darker than the summer sky. His arms and chin were propped over the copper edge, but the rest of Kemal Turkoglu, age ninety-three, had turned a pretty pale blue.

When Orhan's brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather's will raises more questions than it answers. Kemal has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan's grandfather would have left their home to this woman rather than to his own family.

Intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There, over many meetings, he will unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards--the story that, if told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan's family is built, the story that could unravel Orhan's own future.

Moving between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, Orhan's Inheritance is a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and the hidden stories that haunt a family.

"A remarkable debut from an important new voice . . . Beautiful and terrible and, finally, indelible." --Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America

"To take the tumultuous history of Turks and Armenians in the early part of the past century, to tell the stories of families and lovers from the small everyday moments of life to the terrible journeys of death, to make a novel so engrossing and keep us awake--that is an accomplishment, and Aline Ohanesian's first novel is such a wonderful accomplishment." --Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon

"From its first startling image, Orhan's Inheritance will seep under your skin and leave an indelible mark upon your heart. What lucky readers we are to inherit Aline Ohanesian's gorgeous work." --Gayle Brandeis, author of Delta Girls

"Readers who were moved by the work of Carol Edgarian, Mark Mustian, and Nancy Kricorian will appreciate the historical authenticity and passion that Aline Ohanesian brings to this story of the Armenian Genocide. Orhan's Inheritance is heartfelt and sincere." --Chris Bohjalian, author of The Sandcastle Girls

"A harrowing tale of unimaginable sacrifice . . . A novel that delves into the darkest corners of human history and emerges with a tenuous sense of hope." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Praise For Orhan's Inheritance

“Unforgettable.” —Library Journal, Editor's Pick

“[An] impressive debut novel . . . Such sorrow in Ohanesian’s hands is not a heavy burden for the reader. Through the beauty and humanity of her central characters, the story transcends suffering . . . ‘A white day sheds light; a dark day sheds darkness,’ Orhan tells Seda on his first visit. Ohanesian’s novel is that ‘white day.’” —The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“A harrowing tale of unimaginable sacrifice . . . A novel that delves into the darkest corners of human history and emerges with a tenuous sense of hope.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A remarkable debut from an important new voice.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America

“From its first startling image, Orhan's Inheritance will seep under your skin and leave an indelible mark upon your heart. What lucky readers we are to inherit Aline Ohanesian's gorgeous work.” —Gayle Brandeis, author of Delta Girls


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Setting plays such a significant role in Orhan’s Inheritance. How do the two settings, Karod village in Turkey and the Ararat Home in Los Angeles, affect the characters?generic viagra price canada
  2. Why do you think Kemal dies the way he does? What is the symbolism of the vat of dye?generic viagra price canada
  3. Orhan’s early photography was so focused on abstraction that he failed to see the world around him clearly. How does Orhan’s early photography compare with his later work, when he takes up the camera again? In what way does he see the world differently? What role do photography and drawing play in the novel? What is the connection between photography and memory?generic viagra price canada
  4. Do you think words construct meaning differently than visual images do, whether drawn or photographed?generic viagra price canada
  5. Do you think Lucine’s mother, Mairig, is a bad or negligent mother? Why or why not?generic viagra price canada
  6. How are Orhan and Seda similar when it comes to their relationship with their pasts? What is Ani’s perspective on the past? What do you think these characters learn from one another?generic viagra price canada
  7. Lucine’s father, Hairig, defines strength as adaptability. How would you describe Lucine’s strength? What are the qualities that help her survive this ordeal?generic viagra price canada
  8. At what point does Seda stop speaking?Why do you think she makes this choice?generic viagra price canada
  9. Do your feelings about Fatma change in the course of the novel? If so, how?generic viagra price canada
  10. Why does Lucine feel that she and Kemal can never be together?generic viagra price canada
  11. There are many instances of individual and collective guilt in the story as exemplified in the war scenes with Kemal and his soldier friends. Do you think there’s such a thing as collective guilt? If so, is it easier to bear and what are its effects?generic viagra price canada
  12. How do Fatma’s parables illustrate or refute her attitude toward words?generic viagra price canada
  13. The novel makes a distinction between change, as symbolized by dyed wool, and transformation, as symbolized by the silkworm. What is the difference between them? Which characters do you think experienced true transformation?generic viagra price canada
  14. Once Orhan knows about his family’s and country’s history, how do you think he should respond? Do you think he’s done enough by the end of the novel?generic viagra price canada
  15. Much of the novel grapples with the power of words as well as their insufficiency. “There is only what is. What happened. The words come much later, corrupting everything with meaning” (page 305). How important are the words we use to describe someone or something? Why does it matter what Orhan calls Fatma or whether we call what happened in 1915 a genocide?generic viagra price canada


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