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Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian
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Orhan's Inheritance

by Aline Ohanesian

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The book toggles between present day Turkey and America and the Armenian genocide during WW I. The narration is very well done and there are several plot twists that are very intriguing. The author has written fiction- but is paying tribute to a family member- and I find that detail very satisfying. Sometimes fiction makes our understanding of human cruelty more easily understood. ( )
  HelenGress | Feb 14, 2017 |
Forced to return to his tiny village in Turkey from the big city of Istanbul for the reading of the will after his beloved grandfather Kemal dies, Orhan is shocked when his ancestral home is left to a stranger named Seda. Knowing his father and aunt would be displaced if this happens, he is determined to travel to the United States and confront the mysterious woman named in the will.

Orhan finds 90 year old Seda living in an Armenian nursing home, stubbornly refusing to reveal her ties to Kemal. Through persistence and an invisible bond that seems to draw them together, Orhan slowly learns the painful secrets hidden in Kemal and Seda’s pasts which forever changed both of their lives.

Kemal and Seda’s hopes and dreams, often reminding me of the famous star crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet, is intermingled with the horrors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The more I read the more I could see its sad comparison to the events of the Trail of Tears, and how similar warped thinking by people in leadership led to the Holocaust.

These awful lessons from the past should never be repeated, and should serve as a reminder to beware of those who execrate others based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation – especially those in leadership or those seeking to become a leader. Thank you Aline for educating us, and for reminding your readers to never forget crimes committed against humanity. As George Santayana wrote in 1905, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We need to remember.

Highly recommended for Adults.

Book review link: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/orhans-inheritance-aline-ohanesian/ ( )
  sunshinealma | Jun 8, 2016 |
longlist best first novel; Turkey
  TheDenizen | May 31, 2016 |
In 1990, Orhan's grandfather dies and much to his family's chagrin, leaves the house to some woman named Seda whom no one has ever heard of. He goes to a nursing home in California to seek out this Seda, hoping she will legally sign the house over to him, and discovers the connection between her and his grandfather, Kemal, a story which delves into the Armenian genocide during World War 1.

The story moves back and forth between 1915 and 1990, telling the story of Lucine and Kemal. I liked the parts set in the far past especially, and thought the author did a good job of portraying the devastation of forced marches and brutality of war while many of the characters were well-drawn and sympathetic. The more modern sections, where characters discuss whether or not such things should be left in the past or stay fresh in our collective memories, read to me a little preachy. Through Lucine's character, especially, this debut novel brings to life a tragic, little-known or acknowledged piece of Turkey's history. ( )
  bell7 | May 24, 2016 |
I had checked this book out from the library on my Kindle. Sadly, it was checked in before I finished it. I put it on hold and again and two months later when I was able to finish it, the book was still imprinted in my memory so strongly that I was able to pick up right where I left off. I knew nothing about the Armenian genocide in Turkey before I read this. Not only is a story of the annihilation of a people and the cruelty ethnic groups can inflict on others, in this case because of religion, it is the story of the strength required to stay alive, the need to do things you have to forget to continue living. First time author, Aline Ohanesian, makes the story of Orhan who discovers the history of his family as he flies from Turkey to California to discover why his father left the family home to an old lady no one knew. The author has created strong writing in the story of a people who were forced to flee. I kept thinking about the Syrians now and that if there is one thing in which war and excel it is the creation of refuges, who did nothing to bring on their forced migration or more often death. This story is as powerful as Kite Runners (Hosseini) in telling the story of persecuted people. ( )
  brangwinn | Mar 20, 2016 |
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“Orhan’s Inheritance” isn’t a perfect novel. The father/son estrangements are insufficiently developed, the stories of escape are too long, and the repeated foreshadowing is more cloying than illuminating. Yet all that aside, “Inheritance” gracefully redeems itself with details of history almost lost, and the tenacious, crucial attempts at reclamation and preservation. “All of life ... is a story within a story,” Orhan muses. “[H]ow we choose to listen and which words we choose to speak makes all the difference.”
 
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