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Journey to Virginland - Epistle 1 Hardcover – January 1, 2011
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"Dog vs. God. In an iconoclastic story, Dog demolishes the foundations of Western civilization." --Publishers Weekly
"An engrossing, brillantly crafted read... a searing commentary on the earth and its inhabitants. Melikian is an astonishing writer who teaches his reader about the world and the human condition through tragedy and humor."--ForeWord Reviews
"A novel that is completely different than anything that I have ever read before."--Paige Lovitt, Blogcritics
''The world seems like a giant storm of everything wrong with the world and not a whole lot right. With plenty to ponder and plenty to entertain, Journey to Virginland is a fun and enlightening read and is quite the recommendation.''--Midwest Book Review
"The author has moved ahead of the zeitgeist. The self-confident writing is of high quality. The novel is ambitious and it certainly breaks new ground."--Writer's Digest
"Every once in a while a book comes along that shakes up the foundation of what we know to be true. Journey to Virginland accomplishes just this. Everything we know on religion, war, economy, and social mores are up for grabs in a satirical and nihilistic sojourn. Melikian is a much-needed voice in the world of literature."--Long Beach Book Examiner
"A book unlike any other... A very intelligently written, original work of fiction... A book quite out of the ordinary."--Kam Aures, Rebecca's Reads
''Journey to Virginland is one of the most creatively, philosophically, culturally, semantically, and thematically ambitious novels I've ever read in my 35 years of professional life. In the best sense, I'm reminded of George Orwell's classics, and other authors of similar stature, though there is no true parallel possible with a novel and trilogy as unique in concept and execution as Journey to Virginland.''-- Paul McCarthy, Prof. of English (25 years Senior Acquisitions Editor at Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, and Doubleday)
From the Author
Armen Melikian: Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1
William Michaelian at
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As with all books that question social, cultural, and religious mores, Armen Melikian's Journey to Virginland is certain to offend some readers. For the most part, what has been handed down in the form of beliefs and customs goes unexamined, and is embraced as a matter of convenience, identity, and survival. Therefore it takes an open-minded individual to accept the author on his own terms, and to listen without feeling the need to argue with him or change him in any way -- in other words, to go ahead and enter his vision or dream. It is not necessary for the two of them to agree. Only madmen are unwilling to entertain the possibility that they do not know everything -- madmen, and those whose lives have taught them to be wary, jealous, bitter, competitive, and afraid.
There is, of course, another side of the matter: namely, how well -- how inventively, imaginatively, effectively -- does Journey to Virginland meet the demands of literature? And equally important, does it live up to and transcend its own demands, and ultimately surprise its author? Because if the writer is beyond surprise, and therefore unable to laugh at himself, his readers will sense it from the beginning. A book that is merely clever and cunning will appeal only to clever and cunning readers. A book that is human, on the other hand, is apt to be treated as a worthy document, friend, and companion.
So what kind of book is this? Most assuredly, Journey to Virginland possesses the requisite humor that serious art must possess if it is also to be human. Likewise, we find in it a compelling sense of urgency: in essence, the time to think and act is now, because nothing less than our self-understanding is at stake:
The choices are literally between transcendence and self-destruction, even through revolt. And as long as there are oppressors in the world of men, the fake currency of saviors will be in high demand.
Ethnicity, nations, religions, politics are, in effect, surface phenomena; we need to dig deeper than that, to the heart of things, and this book, at turns feverish and poetic, and always refreshingly unapologetic, leads us in that direction. Satire and wordplay flow freely in this outsider's narrative, this twenty-first century life of the artist as a young dog. To the degree that they are obstacles, they yet serve as their own kind of visual-rhythmic accompaniment. After all, as a cursory glance at old English texts reveals, language is a living, changing thing. And so to a degree, conventional meaning is both transitory and a drug. To rely on it exclusively is to be defined by words themselves, and to be enslaved by them. The danger becomes even greater when we approach the old religious texts. Venerable, hoary institutions, beware.
Ultimately, there is no need to compare this novel, or anti-novel, to other books. To those widely read, several will suggest themselves. Melikian is obviously among that number, and cannot believe his work is without influence or predecessor. But Journey to Virginland is different enough, energetic enough, challenging enough, and informative enough to carry its own weight. In the end, Armen Melikian has not only written this book; I think it has written, and will go on writing, him.
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The writing isn't awful; there are some good sentences sprinkled throughout. But the story? Some kind of dystopian nonsense. I'm not going to go on. This book didn't work for me. Period.
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.
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.