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299 pages, Hardcover
First published July 17, 2012
“That belly dancing may also give you the impression that my childhood was rather exotic. It wasn’t. Most of my childhood was unexceptionably suburban, either in a tiny commuter enclave outside of Manhattan or in Miami, Florida. But my grandparents’ house was different. My aunt really did belly dance until she was forty, and there really were hookah pipes ( no longer used, as far as i know), plush oriental carpets, and thick leather books filled with an alphabet i could not begin to decipher. There was always the enveloping aroma of cooked lamb and mint, because my grandfather insisted on lamb chops even for breakfast: lamb chops and a massive cereal bowl filled with Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Puffs, eaten with yogurt instead of milk.”
“You think i want to demonize the Turks. I don’t harbor no grudge. The first boy i ever kissed-seriously kissed, that is, not dry, awkward pecks on the cheek or the lips-was Turkish. He knew i was Armenian. I knew he was Turkish. Hormones mattered far more than history.”
“They were somewhere in the desert between Adana and Aleppo. The women were sitting upright, their legs straight before them and their hands tied to the stake behind them so the pole pressed hard against their spines. Then six gendarmes took their swords and mounted their horses, and each took a turn racing toward the captives at high speed, and-as if it were a mere cavalry exercise-decapitated one of the women. Hatoun’s mother had been the last woman to die, and so she had witnessed five heads fall into the hot sand like coconuts, including her older daughter’s.”
“But Armenian adults? They would sooner be flogged, stripped, scorched, shot, smothered, stabbed, starved, bayoneted, decapitated, drowned, crucified, asphyxiated, eviscerated, axed, hanged, garroted, quartered, pitchforked, impaled, and (if they were female) “outraged.”(This is another word you don’t hear often anymore, at least as a Victorian synonym for rape.) They would sooner succumb to dysentery, typhus, malaria, cholera, pneumonia, infection, sepsis, and the flu. These are all of the ways in which Armenian civilians died in the First World War- at least all of the ways i came across in eyewitness testimonies. Undoubtedly, there are more.”