It had been a while since I read a book concerning the Armenian genocide. I came across one that looked rather different, in terms of backdrop and characters, however. As I started reading, I certainly was not let down. “Lines in the Sand” by Thomas A. Ohanian is an amazingly written story, focusing on the lives of a few characters, both important players in the first World War and innocents subjected to torture and death. I have a certainly love for novels where perspectives are constantly changing and the reader can enter into the lives of multiple different characters at once. Ohanian stays true to this style of writing and begins with WWII, a scene where Hitler plans on invading Poland. He later jumps into the past and right at the beginning of the brewing first Wold War. Between descriptions of peaceful life in the villages of Eastern Turkey (Western Armenia) and dialogues held between the ambassadors and public authorities of the time, the essence of the time period is captured very well. For those interested in WWI and the events that led to the loss of many millions of lives, the story provides an amazing read. For those interested in the plight of the Armenians, the naivete of the people combined with the true tortures they faced gives a painfully real experience to the reader. There are books that take forever to read, even if the topic interests you. This particular novel was finished in a matter of 2 days (I’m a fast reader, the book isn’t short). The book also introduces a lot of key Armenian characters, including Ishkhan, Aram Manougian, Antranig, and Gomidas. The defense of Van, Morgenthau’s mission to try to help the Armenians, Wegner’s photograph evidence, the “starving Armenians” story in America, the closing of the Dardanelles, the assassination of Prince Ferdinand, and the German stance are all included. Even the ANZAC military force makes a good appearance. All in all, it’s a very well rounded, historically accurate novel, with only characters that are the compilation of the faces that both perished and survived the genocide. Lines in the sand are a metaphor.. in this, they represent the marching lines of half dead civilians, blackened by the sun and decimated by hunger, dehydration and disease.
Book can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Lines-Sand-Thomas-Ohanian/dp/0970930607