Saturday, May 16, 2015

Author Aline Ohanesian and ORHAN'S INHERITANCE

Aline Ohanesian, author of the recently published novel, Orhan's Inheritance,  addressed an audience of 60 people on Thursday evening at Porter Square Books.  Before she began her talk, she looked around her and commented, "I love independent book stores!"  Marash Girl seconds that thought!

Aline Ohanesian, author of the new novel  Orhan's Inheritance, greets admirers on
Thursday, May 15, at Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Later, she admitted,
"I guess I'm writing about the Armenian Genocide."

Aline Ohanesian's grandmother, (which grandmother, we never learned,) an Armenian who survived the genocide perpetrated on the Armenian people by the Turks at the beginning of the  20th century, pulled aside the author who was then only 8 years old, and told little Aline her story. Years later, Aline Ohanesian, now married with her own little children, was drifting into sleep when she heard a female voice uttering two sentences -- sentences that would not leave her -- sentences that became the heart of Orhan's Inheritance
              "[t]here is only what is, what happened. The words 
              come much later, corrupting everything with meaning.”

[Much to her parents' dismay, the author dropped out of a history Ph.D. program in order to write Orhan's Inheritance,  a book which was nominated, and became a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.]     

Ohanesian's ancestors were from Sepastia (Sivas), Ottoman Empire, where, according to Ohanesian, there was no physical segregation between the Armenian and Turkish communities.  Given that fact, she stated, there must have been moments when love grew between a young woman and a young man, love that knew no religious boundaries.  On this premise, and after much research on the period as well as visits to Turkey, Ohanesian chose to set her novel in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire in its declining years, during the Armenian Genocide. Orhan's Inheritance is, among other things, a love story between a 15 year old and an 18 year old, between an Armenian Christian  girl and a Turkish Muslim boy; it is the story of Armenians being forcibly torn from their homeland.

Marash Girl began reading Orhan's Inheritance yesterday evening; she has not been able to put the book down.  By page 160, her tears were flowing freely.

Orhan's Inheritance has been translated into 12 languages, and is the #1 best seller in Serbia, Croatia and other countries that have suffered ethnic cleansing. 

President of the Armenian International Women's Association Barbara Merguerian (left)  congratulates author Aline Ohanesian (right), 
on the success of the author's first novel, Orhan's Inheritance

Aline Ohanesian autographs her first novel, Orhan's Inheritance.
                                                                                                                               Photos by Marash Girl


  1. When I was 8 years old, my grandmother (who was a genocide survivor) couldn't tell me anything, because that's the year she died.

  2. Thanks, Marash Girl, for your wonderful account of Aline Ohanesian's book talk at Porter Square Books last Thursday night. Aline's talk provided fascinating insights into the creative development of a novel, and the ways that an author can use her life experiences -- some obvious and others mysterious -- to produce a captivating work of fiction. I've just begun to read Orhan's Inheritance, and can't wait to get back to it.

    I love your blog -- it covers such a variety of interesting topics, and the photos are great!

  3. What pretty nails she has! Love her polish too.