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Not Even My Name: A True Story by Thea Halo
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Not Even My Name: A True Story

by Thea Halo

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More like 2.5. I wanted to like this book more than I did but it did not meet my expectations. The book was framed with the author's mother, Sano, returning to Turkey after many years to see if the house and village in which she had lived as a child were still there, how things had changed, and finally her visit. Then the author recounts her mother's story through the years, from childhood, the Greek villagers' expulsion by the Turkish government, and a death march of the Pontians [Greeks living in the Black Sea area]. We read of Sano's subsequent life with an Assyrian family in south Turkey--they even change her name from Themia to Sano; with an Armenian couple in Aleppo; and eventual marriage to a man decades older than she, Abraham. Finally, the two come to America and they raise their own family. Much of Sano's life was horrendous and heart-breaking.

I may be wrong but I felt this novel was really more fiction than biography; I fault someone for possible misrepresentation. To me much sounded implausible, and how could an old woman remember SO many details? The photos added to the book but there were no acknowledgements even. The book did move along smoothly; the book was written in a simple, childlike manner. The history the author included was fascinating. And I did enjoy reading about the customs and culture of the peoples in that area. The author's mother turned out to be a wise, loving person and I am so glad she did not hate the Turks of years past and those of today. In fact, a pleasant young Turkish man helps her find the location of her village. ( )
  janerawoof | Oct 10, 2014 |
A book to keep your empathy intact. Tells the cruel story of the excile of the Pontic Greeks from their homeland in Turkey. Includes the painful loss of her real name, her family, her happy childhood. Sano and her daughter, Thea, travel to Turkey to locate Sano's ancestral home and tell the story of her excile.
  Gammiegee | Apr 15, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312277016, Paperback)

Not Even My Name is a rare eyewitness account of the horrors of a little-known, often denied genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Armenian and Pontic Greek minorities in Turkey were killed during and after World War I. As told by Sano Halo to her daughter, Thea, this is the story of her survival of the death march at age ten that annihilated her family, and the mother-daughter pilgrimage to Turkey in search of Sano's home seventy years after her exile. Sano, a Pontic Greek from a small village near the Black Sea, also recounts the end of her ancient, pastoral way of life in the Pontic Mountains.

In the spring of 1920, Turkish soldiers arrived in the village and shouted the proclamation issued by General Kemal Attatürk: "You are to leave this place. You are to take with you only what you can carry . . . " After surviving the march, Sano was sold into marriage at age fifteen to a man three times her age who brought her to America. Not Even My Name follows Sano's marriage, the raising of her ten children, and her transformation from an innocent girl who lived an ancient way of life in a remote place to a woman in twentieth-century New York City.

Although Turkey actively suppresses the truth about the murder of almost three million of its Christian minorities--Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian--during and after World War I, and the exile of millions of others, here is a first-hand account of the horrors of that genocide.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:27 -0400)

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