Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Walrath, Dana. Like Water on Stone. New York: Delacorte, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-385-74397-6 

Shahen Donabedian wants more than anything to escape his sleepy little Anatolian village to go to New York City, just like his uncle before him. His twin sister, Sosi, does not feel the same, having just discovered the earliest stirrings of affection for Vahan Arkalian, the clock-maker's son. Together, Shahen and Sosi, are expected to help their parents with the family mill-work, grape harvests and care of their five-year-old sister, Miriam. When the unthinkable happens, and the children are forced to flee while their parents are brutally murdered, nothing matters but survival.

A very sensitive book detailing the horrors of the Armenian genocide for a brother and two sisters in 1914, as they escape to Aleppo with the help of an eagle. Walrath doesn't spare us the details-senseless murder, rape, rivers running with blood, death by starvation-but her choice of free verse somehow gives the reader a chance to come up for air once in a while. In addition, she pays attention to the little details of her Armenian heritage-the music, the food, the daily duties of mothers and daughters. She also explores daily interactions among Turkish Muslims, Kurds and Armenians in rural villages before nationalism crept across the Ottoman empire. Great understanding and depth of insight into the human condition is portrayed in this deceptively simple book.

Author's Website: danawalrath.com

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