“The Sandcastle Girls – Chris Bohjalian
Once again, a story with two timelines; contemporary and historical. A twenty-first century novelist begins to explore her Armenian ancestry. Her research leads her to her grandparent’s courtship and the Armenian genocide. The story line shifts between the actual events of 1915 and the contemporary discoveries of Laura Petrosian.
The 1915 story line was by far the most interesting. I liked Elizabeth Endicott and the other American characters. Bohjalian approaches the horror of the catastrophe from the perspective of these American relief workers who clearly don’t know the extent of the disaster. I could feel their desperation when they began to realize the futility of their efforts. This was a very effective way to disclose the enormity of this crime.
It was so effective that I could not connect to any of the more trivial concerns of the characters. The love story seemed unlikely. The tragic coincidences and devastating secrets added drama to an overdramatic situation. The modern story just annoyed me as it interrupted the wartime narrative.
“his best”Charles Dingman wrote this review Saturday, June 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“library”Pam S wrote this review Sunday, May 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“moves a bit slow but is a good story”EJSFSMITH wrote this review Thursday, May 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“1915. An amazing story of Armenians being eradicated..........they have been forced to march out of Turkey to the desert without food or water........a doctor says 'It is a level of barbarism that is unimaginable outside of literature...at least i was unimaginable.'
I read Acknowledgements and Chris says 'This is my fourteenth novel....'!!! WOW! what a job I have ahead of me now. An absolutely wonderfully written wonderful book. There are not enough stars for this one. ”
“Bohjalian uses the devastating events of the Armenian genocide of 1915 - 1916 as the backdrop for this novel of an American's quest for the identity of a woman in a documentary photograph and the possible link between them. Sometimes difficult to read (owing to the subject matter), but the story, the writing, and the history are well worth the experience. Possibly Bohjalian's best yet.”Darra W wrote this review Thursday, April 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It must be wearisome to be Christ Bohjalian. I hope he finds fun things to do beside writing about unrelenting atrocities. The first of his books I read, "Skeletons at the Feast," was about the horrors of WWII. All the gore with none of the hope. The Sandcastle Girls tells the story of the 1915 Armenian genocide by the Turks. Fortunately, this time he does not dwell on just the viciousness of the Turks, though he does give us enough to understand the horror of that time. He also tells a story of hope and resilliance of the people who endured and the ones who helped. Well done.”Mac D wrote this review Sunday, April 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Written well - skips back and forth between generations. Surprising twist at the end. While there is a love story involved, I see it more as a history lesson of man once again trying to eliminate an ethnic group they feel superior to. As always the women and children pay a steep price.”mitzi b wrote this review Tuesday, April 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Chris Bohjalian is an artistic genius with a story. I don't think there is anything he can't do with a book. Here, he educates concerning the Armenian genocide, which I suspect touched some of his ancestors as well. He writes as a young woman telling a story that happened to her grandparents. It is difficult to look at sometimes, but not at all hard to care very much about these characters and their story.”Rita M wrote this review Friday, March 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No