Synopses & Reviews
As a world war rages through Europe in 1915, Ottoman authorities commence the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians—the first genocide of modern history. A teenage boy named Kaspar Hovannisian is among the surviving generation of Armenians who escape the ruins of their ancestral homeland and build communities around the world. Kaspar follows the American dream to the San Joaquin Valley of California, where he cultivates a small farm and begins investing in real estate. But memories of Armenia burn strong—a legacy of love, anguish, and faith in a national rebirth.
Kaspar's son Richard leaves the family farm, ready to defend the history of a lost nation against the forces of time and denial. He helps pioneer the field of Armenian studies in the United States and becomes a worldwide authority on genocide. Richard's son Raffi is also haunted—and inspired—by the past. In 1989 he leaves his law firm in Los Angeles to stage the original act of repatriation to Soviet Armenia, where he goes on to play a historic role in the creation of a new and independent republic. Now, in a moving book that is part investigative memoir and part history of the Armenian people, Raffi's son, Garin Hovannisian, tells his family's story—a tale of tragedy, memory, and redemption that illuminates the long shadows that history casts on the lives of men.
Combining the historical urgency of The Burning Tigris, the cultural sweep of Middlesex, and the psychological complexity of Bending Toward the Sun, Garin K. Hovannisian's Family of Shadows is a searing history of Armenia, realized through the lives of three generations of a single family. In Family of Shadows, Hovannisian traces the arc of his family's changing relationship to its motherland, from his great-grandfather's flight to America after surviving the Armenian Genocide to his father Raffi Hovannisian's repatriation and subsequent climb to political prominence as the head of the Heritage Party. Hovannisian's articles on Armenian issues, including the Genocide, the Armenian Diaspora, and the challenges of post-Soviet statehood, have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Armenian Observer, Ararat, and numerous other publications.
About the Author
Garin K. Hovannisian is a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship in Creative Writing and the Lynton Award for Book Writing. He lives in Los Angeles and Yerevan, Armenia. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Liberty.