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Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1 by Armen…

Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1 (edition 2012)

by Armen Melikian

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Title:Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1
Authors:Armen Melikian
Info:Trafford (2012), Paperback, 296 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Ebook, Fiction

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Journey to Virginland - Epistle 1 by Armen Melikian



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Ordinarily I wouldn’t think twice about rating a book poorly and rattling off the reasons why I didn’t like it, but I won this in a goodreads giveaway, and the author was even nice enough to sign the book for me, so I feel a little guilty at the thought of saying, for instance, that the book’s humor is sophomoric and predictable, or that its ideas have previously been explored by many other writers with better style and wit. I like the author’s ambition (but not the pomposity of its presentation) and I hope that in the future he will have the ability to manage his ambition and make a good book out of it. No star rating because I couldn’t finish it. I may try again someday.
  Michael.Xolotl | Mar 5, 2013 |
It took me forever to read this book. It is not an easy read or even an approachable read. You must really dedicate yourself to immersing in the language and style. Just like a Fantasy novelist creates a culture and world for their characters to flurish in, this author created words and experimental literature techniques to present a mirror of history and politics. I enjoyed reading something completely different from what I usually choose to read.

That being said, the actual ideas conveyed could at times be funny or agreeable, but most of the time I just thought the author was crazy. I spent some time abroad in the areas that were described. I could see their reflections in the work. The history I knew certainly helped me to understand the setting (although I suggest having at least wikipedia near by if you try and read this, even if you think you're an expert in history and politics). It was just so pessimistic about the world and our hope for a future. All the follies of government and society were presented as our doom that must be lived in forever and ever. There is no character or people that you like or relate to. There is very little in general to really make you feel connected to what you're reading in any deep way past your historical and cultural perspective. Many of the gender issues especially bothered me. I could never tell if the author was mocking all gender relations or if they really hated women that much. Any section talking about women or the main characters relationships always left a very sour taste in my mouth after reading it.

I don't think I was the target audience for this novel. I'm sure someone else will love it if they have a lot of time to devote to it without taking the philosophy personally. ( )
  EsotericMoment | Dec 30, 2012 |
Review Journey To Virginland: Epistle I by Armen Melikian

A rather confusing tirade over religion, culture, and ethnocentricities. If you don’t know a lot about the history of the Turkish region, including its literary history, you’re lost. Not meant for the mass market. Aside from the density of the writing, if you can devote the time and energy to trudging through it, Journey to Virginland: Epistle I has interesting ideas and some entertaining scenes. ( )
  kedicat | Dec 20, 2012 |
I agree with most of the other reviews on this site, this certainly isn't an easy, fast read that you can read while sunbathing or whatever it is you may do while reading a good novel.
This requires your full attention, and you might be turning a couple pages back to read the previous few paragraphs, or page, just in case you got sidetracked;)
I found that I tend to agree with this author, and I had to laugh during several parts of this book, which is made especially easy, since the author is super witty, and has a genuine, very real mind.
I also have to add about how this book flowed so perfectly, kind of like your favorite song, poetic in some spots, and really gets your mind moving. Which for most, is a good thing. I do also need to point out, that at first, when I received this book, I really started thinking I was going to hate it, (I love America, and to see America deemed, Satanland, really at first irked me!) but, I got the point behind it, and society is more or less, how this author expresses in his book.
That being said, I would have to say that there will be parts, that some may hate, some may agree, and then turn the page and think, "WHAT???" But, when you really think about it, and when you picture society and the people and wars and Governments in this crazy place, you can start to understand what the author is trying to convey.
Although, some people may have a hard time understanding, (not meant arrogantly at all), and I would have to think that they are maybe partially what this book is about and why it was written. ( )
  busymommylist | Jul 6, 2012 |
Disclaimer: This book was awarded to me in a LibraryThing giveaway. I was asked to provide a review in return.

I'm only halfway through this book so far, so I might add more to the review once I'm finished, but there are some things I need to address.

Here's a quick lesson how not to do self-promotion. The text from the first giveaway has appeared in several reviews. I'd recommend you read it as well. When I entered the giveaway, I was looking for a book that was more than fluff, more than YA vampire luv (not that there's anything wrong with that if that's your bag—I enjoy some fluff, myself) so I was willing to overlook the slightly-condescending tone used in the promotional material. After all, if you were an author who was trying to write something with a bit of depth, and your giveaway copies were awarded to someone who had only read something at the level of, say, Twilight, the review would probably consist of ZOMG BIG WORDS, LIKE TOTALLY ZERO STARS, and you'd likely want to let the people entering the giveaway know that this is a bit more advanced. Although, there's probably a better way to tell your readers that it's advanced, rather than suggesting they attend college before reading your book. I went to college, and I'm a pretty voracious reader, and I still had to reread several passages to figure out what the hell they actually said.

The following is the text from the second LibraryThing giveaway, the one after I won a copy. I'm not sure if it's still up, but if I had seen it before I won, I can definitely say that I would not have entered the giveaway, and the author would have earned a prize place on my authors behaving badly shit-list:

Description: Some reasons for NOT reading this book:
1. The author caricatures the Holy of Holies of all religions. Jerusalem is Penisalem.

2. The author caricatures the holy of holies of the ideology and the prime representatives of the American empire.The USA is Satanland.

3. The book is experimental literature. Inverts on its head the conventions of the novel. It is Dog Lit, written by a dog who disbelieves in the opium of literature.

4. This book is for "anarchists," "atheists," "terrorists," "criminals," "satanists," "moslems," "subverters," "drug dealers," "the homeless," "the stateless," "the gypsies," "the thieves," "the blacks," "traitors," "whores," "conspirators," "co-conspirators," "co-coconspirators," and... "real Americans."

The above text also appeared on the new giveaway on Goodreads. HOWEVER, on LibraryThing, the author goes on to add a fifth point:

5. One more reason NOT to read this book: The latest reviews assert persuasively that this book is rubbish. Don't believe it? Read it for yourself:

"A conceited attempt to imitate Salman Rushie and others. Pretentious, self-congratulatory rubbish, e-mailed to Early Reviewers along with a poorly made YouTube marketing video. Shameful. The positive reviews of this novel have only re-iterated the points put forth in marketing documents, as no one yet has had the courage to stand and criticize it. This book is, quite simply, a vainglorious writer presenting mundane social commentary with a soaring vocabulary."

While it is a fact that
a. The author has never read Salman Rushdie, and doesn't intend to read him anytime soon, because as a citizen of Satanland, his domain is first and foremost Satanland, not Allahland or Ayatollahland, and as such, he wouldn't feel a particular pleasure by demonizing Allah or Ayatollah, as the ideologues of His Holiness Diabolam Diabolum do basking under the sun of every literary crap that criticizes their ideological enemies. Rather, the author would not deprive himself from the intense pleasure of demonizing Satanland and its self-righteous and all-knowledgeable ideologues.

b. The author has made a "cheap" YouTube video because he is neither a member of the Satanic Plutocracy (he doesn't own a bank), nor is he a successful capitalist investor or an inheritor of wealth or the means of producing wealth. Shame on him! Inferior creature!

c. The reviewer has never received any marketing material, therefore he has no way of knowing if others have. And the fact is none of the winners of LibraryThing have received any (but they will receive it henceforth!) And that none of the other reviewers of the book have used nothing from the marketing material, but have expressed their genuine experiences in reading this book.

d. The reviewer is a liar and an underhanded one whose sole aim is to discredit an author and destroy his ranking, because this writer destroys the ideological hegemony of his sacrosanct beliefs in capitalism, democracy, and the rest... (and brings a new voice in literature that he wants to suffocate—a voice that sounds bizarre to him, since it is a nuclear bomb in the ass of Satan's Grand Narrative). This wouldn't have been as insulting to the reviewer, of course, if the author's knowledge of English was inferior to his.

e. The reviewer thinks he is more intelligent than the editors of major book review magazines and most of the readers and reviewers of the book, as well as all the judges of the 7 awards the author has won in Satanland, and feels a personal sense of responsibility to alert everyone to the prime danger of wasting their time by reading this book.

Nevertheless, we should believe in his genuine remarks, as "where there's smoke, there's fire" says the conventional wisdom.

Therefore, it behooves everyone to read excerpts on author's website BEFORE entering into something that might prove to be after all a waste of precious investment time. http://www.JourneyToVirginland.com

Now, I'm not an author, so I could be mistaken, but it seems to me that responding to negative reviews of your book in a negative way would be a very bad way to attract new readers. You come off looking like a dick. You just called one of your readers a liar, insulted their intelligence, and then posted that in a promotional piece for your next giveaway. Dude. Your balls must be visible from space.

Regarding the actual content of the book:
As I mentioned, I'm only halfway through, but I'm really struggling with this book. Another reviewer, Beatnick Mary, summed up this book perfectly: "It's just a dull book with a convoluted idea and a lot of polysyllabic words."

That is bang on. The book talks a lot without saying much of anything. It started out promising, with interesting lines like:

"They call me dog. Don’t ask who. Them. all of them."

"Kill the dog!
Sex is outlawed in Virginland."

which led me to believe that this was going to be a dystopian story, in the vein of 1984 or Brave New World, but it seems to have turned into a commentary on modern life with precious little in the way of narrative. I know there's Dog, and Dog likes to fuck. Also, women are whores, or something. The rest of the book is essentially Look at all the words I know. I know all of these words. Also, gratuitous Latin!

That's not to say that all of the writing is bad or over-the-top. Here's one passage I did like, on page 55: "When I was less than a year old, my parents had me christened at the church of the forty Virgins in adonis. Nobody had thought of asking me first."

Right there is a nice little commentary on how religion is forced on kids before they really understand the world around them. Sadly, these moments are too few and far between, and I can't really recommend this book. ( )
1 vote sherrike | Jun 26, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
"Dog vs. God. In an iconoclastic story, dog demolishes the foundations of Western civilization."
added by legallypuzzled | editPublishers Weekly
"The world seems like a giant storm of everything wrong with the world and not a whole lot right. Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1 follows young Dog as he embarks on a journey through America and the chaos of the post 9/11 world where he looks for what it means to be human and the constant changes one must undergo to maintain a connection to one's sanity through it all. With plenty to ponder and plenty to entertain, Journey to Virginland is a fun and enlightening read and is quite the recommendation."
added by ArmenMelikian | editMidwest Book Review
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"To the whores of Virginland"
First words
I head home an hour before twilight from my research at the National Library of the Academy of Sciences of Virginland.
Satan’s Speech, Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: We, the peepel o the Demokratik Triumvirate o Gehenna, dik liar hearwith that our way o life to liv high off the hog is thretened by a most ominus enimi. Our enimi stirredup a hornet’s nest by attaking us. Even tho we did every effort to strike a happi midium by soft-soping them, to bring them into ciphilizacion rom dog’s life, through camu flaj and chikenery they attaked us blind as a bat with a bolt rom the blu hitting us be lo the belt. They played wid fair their for ar at appoint o no return.When I sow the smok coming owt o the twin towels, I said to the peepel o Emir aka that where their’s smok their’s fayr. Whatasnake in the grass owr enimi is. But we have some mezhure to blaim owr selves, sins wes weepd under the rug God’s unfailing word witch says, spar the rod and spoil the child. Our ounding dads said that onesti is the best police. But I tell yea that in the new age onesti is the worst police, there for I have ad viced our central inteligent agenci to fallo dis new police.We will no longer take the bacc seat in dis ishoo. We will no longer take any wooden nikels. But we will stik to our guns, even tho we stik our nok out.I discussed the matter with owr secretry ostate hoo was mad as a wet hen. Sins two hats ar better than one, I also sot cown sil rom owr secretry odefens hoo was mad as a hatter. But ourvice presi dent was cool as a cucumber and was cooking with gas. His ad vice was to cool it and beat round the bush. So I cooled it and de cided not to bull in a china shop. He said daunt thro the blak baby out with the bath water. He said to kip my shirt on. He said daunt kill the goos that lays the golden eggs. When I sow dat he is vizer than any vizier be for Him, I de cided to kip him in house with me all along.I burned the candel at both ends and remembered that Rom was not bilt in a day. And sins dis was greek to me, so be for jumping off the deep end I took it to God. I tot dat man’s extremiti is God’s uppertuniti. Then at the drop ave hat I de cided, as yur trusted leather, that we will not be sitting doks. Better be envid then pitid. Nothing venchurd, nothing cained: Itill bi fist or famin. And dbest way to face our enimi is to dik liar war against it widowth mincing the worth. When the going gets tuff, the tuff gets going. I’ll be right back!If you want to keep a smile on your face, LOVEDA is the answer! Ask your doctor to prescribe LOVEDA for you! Approved by our Lord’s Food and Drug Administration, LOVEDA is the choice of most doctors. You will lose inches, acquire the ability to move using your own feet, repel morning breath—all with one pill. Elderly patients may develop psychosis. Taking LOVEDA increases your risk of death or stroke. It may cause suicidal thoughts in adolescents and young adults. Call your doctor if you experience high fever, muscle rigidity, headache, dizziness, confusion, sweating, shaking, increased heart rate or blood pressure, uncontrollable facial or body spasms. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gastrointestinal bleeding, difficulty passing urine, seizures, chronic phantom pain in the testicles or breasts, abnormal restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and death. Additional side effects may occur. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Consult your doctor if after taking LOVEDA you faint, attempt to commit suicide, become aggressive, have panic attacks, or experience dangerous impulses such as a desire to kill your neighbor, spouse, or children. LOVEDA is the drug of choice for millions of Satanlanders. Make LOVEDA your choice and the choice of your loved ones and improve your quality of life. The use of LOVEDA has not been shown to prevent weight gain, immobility, or bad breath. Take LOVEDA now, before it’s too late. Developed by Eternity Pharmaceuticals.I coccion u, fello denizens of Hell, that The war agains tterrorism will not be a peace o kaik. Buttit ill be like pulling tit. It ill cost arm and a leg. A cat in gloves caches gnom ice. Butt we will lower the boom on owr enimi, will gyv demn the third degree, and will never again lok the barn door ater the hoars is out. Emir aka rom the loman on the totem pol to the hayman on the totem pol will sho them that owr noz is knot out o joint, and we ars not over the hill yet.There arstil many traials our nayshun must ace. But as our ounding dad George Buchanan said, exsample is better dan precept; God helps them hoo help themselves. There for we will shove owr enimi owr di terminacion. But we shood not cuwnt owr chikens before they hach. We shood batten down the haches. We will bate the bullet, they will bate the dust.Nok on wood, I no the ropes. We will sho them the cold sholdier av emir aka. We will keep their noz to the grindston. We will hunt them Everestile; we will kill their leathers and make shur that there side o the stor is ne’er herd. Dead men tell no tails. Day say dat we lied to them. Isay, ask no queschens and here no lies. Even do we will skait on tin ice, we wont our enimi to no that the ski is the limit o owr potentsheol. I’ll be right back!Investment opportunities span planet earth and so do we. Global investment opportunities are out there if you know where to look. We at Dick Sacho know where to look. We have over 70 years of experience evaluating global equities in bull and bear markets alike. With investment professionals on the ground in over 155 countries, we offer investors an unparalleled perspective on the increasingly cherished and exponentially growing world of global investment. Our goal is to provide our investors with outstanding returns. Integrity and honesty are the heart chambers of our business. We aggressively seek to expand our client relationships, and when we fall short of our promised goals, we employ our henchmen in the Black House and Capitol Hill to occupy other countries. Through our longstanding business relationship with the SIA, we ensure the ascendance of favorable business partners to power in all countries where we have an economic stake. We regularly receive confidential information from Satan and guide our clients accordingly. Significant employee stock ownership in our firm consolidates the interests of our employees and shareholders. Call 1.888.888.8888. Your future mansions and year-round worldwide vacations, guaranteed by our Lord’s security agencies, are just a phone call away.Aris Total once said that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So we will cach one in the hand and let loos two in the bush. We hav shon them that beggars can be choosers and the blak shipo’owr amili can lid them by the nose. These foks mistook our calm be for oper asian nord storm. My kelleag in Elizabeth City has arready de claired that we will call there bluff and maik them under stand that those hoo **** hit the side ave barn **** fite city hall. My killeag sad date sins we have a spatial real asian sheep, we will not have to garri all the burden on our sholdiers. I told him dat it takes two to tango. A brotel shard is a brotel haved. My killeag said not to wory about the vine drinkers, sins one Englishman can kill three freshmen. As u see, we always see eie to eie with imp or taunt tissues and dont bilive in old wiwe’s tails. A woman’s place is in the home, a sholdier’s place is in the front says my wife. God’s worth says he hoo can does; he hoo cannot, tiches. Our enimis ar playing genterman. But when Adam delved and Eve span, hoo was the genderman?God bless Emir aka and all the reedom-loving nacients o the word hoose ars with us. Dos hoo ars not widows ars againstus. Itisa Time tested wiz dome that birds ave father bloc together. But we shood never for get dat politics maiks strang bedfellas.God belss Emir aka.
Last words
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Book description
At turns heartbreaking and diabolically funny, Journey to Virginland is an avant-garde tour de force, delivered by a master storyteller. The protagonist, a loutish and uber-cerebral antihero known simply as Dog, takes on the challenge to navigate the perilous paradigm shifts of our age, determined to find his proper place under the sun. Is he doomed to failure? Or will he pull it off by heeding his own irreducible voice, given the ebb of the old certainties?

Dog pursues the answer unrelentingly, through an impassioned quest for identity and meaning. He revisits his relationships with women, family, literature, and homeland, in the process illuminating his journey with commentaries on history, religion, politics, and culture that unravel our very fabric.

Marked by biting satire and tappings into lushest scholarship, Dog’s naked critique touches on some of the most pressing issues facing humanity: the arrogance of empire and organized religion; the persistence of bigotry, xenophobia, and social Darwinism; the double standards of sexual politics; the bankrupt rationale behind patriotism and state propaganda; and hypercapitalism and consumerism, among others.

An ocean of struggles and epiphanies takes Dog to a spiritual ground zero called Virginland, where the story unfolds. It is also in Virginland that Dog unearths an ancient calendar based on a cosmic worldview. His discovery reveals the mythological underpinnings of the Zodiac, subverting the current conventional wisdom about the subject.

What emerges from the protagonist’s odyssey is not only a cogent depiction of what makes us tick, but, as day follows night, a dazzling new vista for social and spiritual transformation.

With its vibrant style, thematic breadth, and, ultimately, unfettered sense of humanity, Journey to Virginland establishes itself as a groundbreaking literary enterprise and a true original.
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