Aida Kouyoumjian (author); BETWEEN THE TWO RIVERS; Coffeetown Press (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) $18.95 ISBN: 9781603811118
Byline: Elissa Mugianis
Most people familiar with the genocide of the Armenians recognize this 1939 quote attributed to Adolph Hitler: "I have given orders to my Death Units to exterminate without mercy or pity men, women, and children belonging to the Polish-speaking race. It is only in this manner that we can acquire the vital territory which we need. After all who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?"
Remember that extermination, however, is precisely what Mannig, the main character of Between the Two Rivers: A Story of the Armenian Genocide does. Her "remembering" in this book is far more profound and complex than conceivably meant by Hitler in his statement; and thus, memory and its roles, with their various historical, cultural, and personal meanings, are the central themes of Aida Kouyoumjian's book.
Through the author's retelling of her mother Mannig's remarkable story of survival and existence as an orphan in Iraq (between the Tigris and Euphraties rivers), readers become engrossed in the heartbreakingly tragic details of her early life. At the outset of the book, Mannig is a clever ten year old who, along with her sister, are the only family members to have survived the ethnic cleansing of her Armenian community from Adapazar, Turkey. Homeless and alone, she...