Arslan, Antonia. Skylark Farm, a novel.

Author:Paldino, Lorie Johnson
Position:Book review

ARSLAN, Antonia. Skylark Farm, a novel. Random House, Vintage. 275p. c2007. 978-1-4000-9567-4. $14.95. SA

With the Armenian genocide still a controversy in 21st-century headlines, readers will find Antonia Arslan's Skylark Farm a compelling read. Arslan gives voice to the untold number of Armenians killed during the 1915 expulsion of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey, the Armenian population had endured an "ethnic cleansing" in the form of massacres in 1894-1896, and those who had survived quietly lived in the confines of the Ermeni Millet, the Armenian administrative unit set up in the Ottoman Empire. Many Armenians, however, had family members leave for Europe and America in search of freedom and a better life. The Arslanian family is no different. Hamparzum, the patriarch, has seen two of his sons off. Of his remaining children, only Sempad stays close, taking over the role of patriarch on Hamparzum's death. Yet it is Sempad's great niece, living in Italy, who chronicles the events of 1915 as Yerwant, the eldest brother, becomes nostalgic and desires to return to his native land. As he begins to shape his plans, WW I breaks...

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