Synopses & Reviews
Beginning 24 months before WWI and the Armenian genocide is a love story that unravels a piece of 100-year-old history seen through the eyes of the young, courageous, and unyielding Anno and Daron. In an era of major human disaster and violence, this historical novel offers an easy, accessible understanding of what atrocities mean to regular people and how love overcomes the most unimaginable pain. From the colors used to dye the rugs, to the distances between the villages where guns were smuggled, to the fragrance of wild mushrooms snapping and sizzling on an open fire, each detail makes the reader truly participate in the life and struggle of the characters. Five years of research through gathering materials and traveling to the real-life village that is depicted in this novel, amid gunfire and bombings, has been poured into a love story that will either be savored by the reader or read in a frenzy to discover the fate of Anno and Daron.
"Theodor Adorno, the German sociologist and theoretician, believed that 'to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.' Brenda Webster, whose previous novels and translations give witness to both her narrative skill and her poetic consciousness, challenges that assertion in her new novel, courageously named After Auschwitz
. . . .The book’s pain is offset by Webster’s compassion for her characters, her evocation of both the joys of life and the darkening days of old age and, above all, the acknowledgment that 'after Auschwitz' there can be the golden glory of Rome." —Gloria Goldreich, Hadassah
"A Holocaust survivor depends on her Italian caretaker husband who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Memory and forgetting both play a crucial role in the experiences they share. Set in Rome in 2010, Brenda Webster’s novel narrates the suffering of Auschwitz mitigated by a couple’s loving relationship." —World Literature Today
"Powerful and sensitive, this tragic novel helps illuminate a historical episode still too little known or acknowledged." —Kirkus Reviews
"Boyadjian based parts of the book on the stories of her own grandparents, survivors of the Armenian genocide. That comes through, both in the description and in the way the characters react to the ever-present dangers, and makes As the Poppies Bloomed a moving work." —Foreword Reviews
“As the Poppies Bloomed is a compelling read from first page to last and clearly documents author Maral Boyadjian as an especially gifted storyteller who will leave her readers looking eagerly toward her next novel.” —Midwest Book Review
"As the Poppies Bloomed is a story of love, loss and in the end salvation—the best type of story we have to remind ourselves of some of the worst, and best, aspects of the human condition." —Christopher Atamian, HuffPost Books, The Huffington Post
It is 1913 and late summer in the Ottoman Empire. The sun rises, full and golden, atop a lush, centuries-old village tucked into the highlands where the blood-red poppies bloom. Outside the village leader's home, the sound of voices carries past the grapevines to the lane where Anno, his youngest daughter, slips out unseen.
She heads to a secret meeting place. She forgets that enemies surround her village. She forgets that her father meets each day with trepidation. She knows only the love she has for Daron, who waits for her as she hastens to him, once again breaking the ancient rules of courtship.
Anno and Daron wish for nothing more than marriage and a better day alongside their neighbors, but neither is prepared for the dark, dangerous secret that Daron's father keeps or the upheaval that will soon envelop their village, their land, and their hearts.
About the Author
Brenda Webster is a novelist, a freelance writer, a playwright, a critic, and a translator. She is the president of PEN West and one of the founders of RedRoom.com, an online site for authors. She is the author of four previous novels: The Beheading Game, which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, Paradise Farm, Sins of the Mothers, and Vienna Triangle. She lives in Berkeley, California.