My Grandmother: A Memoir Hardcover – April 17, 2008
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From School Library Journal
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“My Grandmother ... refuses to be sidetracked by the issues it raises: it is a tribute to the woman, an expression of shared pain, and a plea for reconciliation. That it was a bestseller in Turkey should tell you something.”—Guardian
“Gripping and thought-provoking ... Spare and elegant ... This moving testimony transcend politics and brings the Armenian tragedy to life with tenderness as well as sadness.”—Independent
“Sober and heartbreaking.”—Financial Times
“The author’s acute sensibility and ear for detail set this account apart ... two brave voices ring through this book: hers and her grandmother’s.”—New Internationalist
“A remarkable book.”—Irish Times
“This is a story that cries out to be told.”—Tribune
- Publisher : Verso; First edition. (April 17, 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 116 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1844671690
- ISBN-13 : 978-1844671694
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.58 x 0.06 x 0.85 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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There are probably many different answers to these questions, each depending on the unique situation, but finally at least we have some answers in this deeply moving, eloquent, and overpowering book. Fethiye Cetin writes about her grandmother, "Seher," with whom she shared an uncommonly close bond. Near the end of her life, when "Seher" and her granddaughter are alone, "Seher" confides in Fethiye that her real name is Heranoush (in this book the name is spelled in its Turkish transliteration, Heranus). Seher/Heranoush tells her granddaughter, the author, about Heranoush's family's destruction during the Armenian Genocide, where she was literally snatched from her mother's arms when a gendarme stole the child away to be "saved" and raised as a Turk. Her mother fought the gendarme with her last drop of energy, but the officer overpowered her and got away with Heranoush on the back of his horse, and that was it. Or so it would have seemed.
I won't share the details of the story because there are more than a few bombshells within, but the entire story is astonishing. I will just say this: Heranoush was not the only family member who survived the Genocide. Read this book and find out the absolutely breathtaking details of this family's most shocking of stories.
In his book, The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History , Professor Raymond Kevorkian explores this very issue at length, and it is one of the many earth-shaking revelations in a masterpiece of a book for which there are not enough possible words to praise it. Kevorkian unearths documents that in fact show that as a planned feature of the Genocide, Mehmet Talaat (i.e. Talaat Pasha, the mass-murderer who was the leader of the Young Turks and the ultimate author of the Armenian Genocide, who eventually became the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire before its defeat in World War I], believed himself that Armenians possessed superior capabilities to Turks. As a part of his plan to "improve" Turkey and the Turkish race by creating a Turkey with an exclusive Turkish identity, Talaat wanted a small but significant number of Armenian children taken from the death marches (mostly women, who were by their nature required to be subservient in an Islamic society) to be raised as "Turks," to genetically improve the Turkish race by incorporating a handful of Armenians (shorn of their ethnic identity) into the Turkish gene pool.
Professor Kevorkian's findings certainly sound shocking to those of us living here and now, but Professor Kevorkian makes a strong case that this was in fact one of the goals of the authors of the Armenian Genocide, and "My Grandmother" makes it clear that the policy was "successfully" implemented. Certainly Fethiye Cetin is not making this point in this book, at least explicitly. But read between the lines in her story, and you will see that she perhaps unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) makes the case that this is in fact what happened, effectively.
This is an important and astonishing book. Only an ideologue could fail to be touched and moved by it. It's a quick read and can be finished in one sitting.
Fortunally for my grandparents, they got out of Turkey and came to Mexico. (They where two of the 350 Armenians that came to Mexico in the early 20's)
I have an aunt who the family "lost" for 50 years who had the same experience - taken from the death march line while her parents and 1 brother were killed and another brother escaped - which is why I was interested in this particular story.
The story moved me deeply.
After so many decades of denial by the Turkish government that such crimes ever happened, it is really great to see finally people within Turkey that are willing to tell the truth.
I give Fethiye Cetin a lot of credit for her courage.
This is an excellent book, I highly recommend it.