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The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel by Chris…
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The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Chris Bohjalian (Author)

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1,20213310,720 (3.9)69
"Parallel stories of a woman who falls in love with an Armenian soldier during the Armenian Genocide and a modern-day New Yorker prompted to rediscover her Armenian past"--
Member:GirlWellRead
Title:The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel
Authors:Chris Bohjalian (Author)
Info:Doubleday (2012), Edition: First Edition, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (2012)

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» See also 69 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. It’s 1915, and Elizabeth has volunteered to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. After leaving Aleppo and traveling into Egypt to join the British Army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, realizing that he has fallen in love with the wealthy young American.

Years later, their American granddaughter, Laura, embarks on a journey back through her family’s history, uncovering a story of love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations. ( )
  Gmomaj | Dec 2, 2019 |
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. It’s 1915, and Elizabeth has volunteered to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. After leaving Aleppo and traveling into Egypt to join the British Army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, realizing that he has fallen in love with the wealthy young American.

Years later, their American granddaughter, Laura, embarks on a journey back through her family’s history, uncovering a story of love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations. ( )
  Gmomaj | Dec 2, 2019 |
Didn't finish. I usually like Bohjalian's books, so I waived my "one day" rule -- usually, if I have doubts about a book, I'll read on it for a day (usually 2-3 hours total) and if it doesn't grab me, it's gone. (Hey -- I'm old. I'm not going to live long enough to read every book ever written, so I've become choosy.) In consideration of his past performances, Bohjalian got an extra day's read.

I just couldn't get past the narrative form, jumping from 1915 Syria to contemporary American with multiple stops in between, and the only signpost for the reader was the change from third-person to first-person narrative. Frankly, I kept wishing the first-person narrator would just get the hell out of the way and let the 1915 characters tell the story.

(Not sure why the database says I read this twice. I didn't but can't see how to correct it.) ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Dec 14, 2018 |
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian is historical fiction about an author who tries to find information about her grandparents during the Armenian genocide done by the Turks in 1915. I had no knowledge of this. 1.5 million Armenians were killed and starved in the deserts and near Aleppo. There are a variety of characters for different points of view: Elizabeth and her father are the wealthy Bostonians to help out, Armed the aremenian who has lost his wife and child, Nevart and Hatoun, Armenians who lost their families. Many of the scenes are pretty horrific and there are times where the Germans are heavily involved as allies of the Turks so it feels like a foreshadow of the Holocaust just a few decades later. I also think of bombed out Aleppo right now and how that city has to have some of the worst history for violence.

This is my work book club pick so I’m interested to discuss and see if anyone else had knowledge of this time in history before reading the book. ( )
  strandbooks | Dec 8, 2018 |
I wouldn't say I necessarily enjoyed this book--the subject matter is horrifying--but I'm really glad I read it. I don't believe I was ever taught anything about the Armenian genocide or, if I was, it was touched on so briefly that I've forgotten it all. I spent equal amounts of time reading the book and looking up the history that surrounded the atrocities within. I find it very sad and disturbing that, more than 100 years later, I can easily find similarities between this story and the nightly news.

Subject matter aside, I mostly liked the interweaving of the historical storyline and the contemporary one. Although, on occasion, I had to go back and reread the beginning of a chapter or a scene in which I thought the story was going to be set during one time period only to find out that Bohjalian had jumped to the other. Over all, though, I'm not sure I could have sustained the emotional stress had he not broken up the brutality with the modern day storyline. If you're looking for a well-written, enlightening piece of historical fiction, I'd highly recommend [b: The Sandcastle Girls|13330603|The Sandcastle Girls|Chris Bohjalian|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1332018541s/13330603.jpg|18538253]. ( )
  KristinaSimon | Nov 24, 2018 |
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Epigraph
"we shot our heretical need
to see the horror of the past
thru a wide-angled lens"

"You asked: If there is no one to listen to the story, what's left?
The blown-out ceiling with its tinge of Duccio-color?"

Peter Balakian,
"Sarajevo," from his collection Ziggurat
Dedication
In memory of my mother-in-law, Sondra Blewer, 1931-2011, and my father, Aram Bohjalian, 1928-2011. Sondra urged me to write this novel, and my father helped to inspire it.
First words
Prologue
When my twin brother and I were small children, we would take turns sitting on our grandfather's lap.
Part One "Chapter 1"
The Young woman, twenty-one, walks gingerly down the dusty street between her father and the American consul her in Aleppo, an energetic fellow almost her father's age named Ryan Donald Martin, and draws the scarf over her hair and her cheeks.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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