Synopses & Reviews
What would you do if the love of your life, and all your memories, were lost- only to reappear, but with such shocking revelations that you wish you had never remembered...
Emmett Conn is an old man, near the end of his life. A World War I veteran, he's been affected by memory loss since being injured during the war. To those around him, he's simply a confused man, fading in and out of senility. But what they don't know is that Emmett has been beset by memories, of events he and others have denied or purposely forgotten.
In Emmett's dreams he's a gendarme, escorting Armenians from Turkey. A young woman among them, Araxie, captivates and enthralls him. But then the trek ends, the war separates them. He is injured. Seven decades later, as his grasp on the boundaries between past and present begins to break down, Emmett sets out on a final journey, to find Araxie and beg her forgiveness.
Mark Mustian has written a remarkable novel about the power of memory-and the ability of people, individually and collectively, to forget. Depicting how love can transcend nationalities, politics, and religion, how racism creates divisions where none truly exist, and how the human spirit fights to survive even in the face of hopelessness, The Gendarme is a transcendent novel.
"Mustian's debut novel is a meditation on memory in which the dreams of a former Turkish soldier contain the truth of his past. Emmett Conn is 92 and living in Georgia when he begins dreaming of his youth and his involvement in the Armenian diaspora. After 70 years of amnesia caused by his WWI injuries, Emmett's past returns with a vengeance following surgery for a brain tumor. Emmett knows he fought the British at Gallipoli, was wounded, and was cared for by a nurse, Carol, whom he married and accompanied back to the U.S. But in his violent dreams, he relives his actions as a Turkish gendarme in the forced death march of thousands of Armenians into Syria. Emmett recalls snippets of his murderous and rapacious acts but also of his obsession with a beautiful young Armenian girl, Araxie. His dream life leads him to one conclusion: he must find Araxie and beg her forgiveness. Mustian's staccato prose, an attempt to emulate Emmett's skittish and elusive dreams, works sometimes better than others, but the novel effectively captures the human capacity for survival and redemption. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Mark T. Mustian has written an extraordinary novel dealing with some of the most difficult issues of the twentieth century, issues that profoundly threaten this new century as well. The Gendarme
explores humanity's capacity for largescale evil and how that capacity expresses itself through ordinary, smallscale, individual lives. This is a harrowing and truly important novel by a splendid American writer."
Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of Hell and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"One reads this masterful work thinking all the while of its literary cousinsThe Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, Snow by Orhan Pamuk. Books such as these, novels like The Gendarme, writers like Mr. Mustian, keep our world afloat amidst the tempests of history. Humanity would no longer recognize itself, its enduring passions and cruelties and triumphs, without them."
Bob Shacochis, National Book Awardwinning author of Easy in the Islands and Swimming in the Volcano
"I love this book. The haunting lesson from this gifted writer is that even the legacy of war cannot triumph over the human spirit. Where there is love and humanity, the human spirit triumphs. Read it."
Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author of Prayers for Sale
"The Gendarme does what few have the courage to do: haunted by memories of war crimes he committed under another name, he turns and enters his nightmare to find the woman who was his enemy then and now, decades later, is still his first great love. Mark Mustian shows the reader what the face of history looks like without the makeup. Mainly, though, he paints an unforgettable portrait of the human spirit at its bravest and most resilient."
David Kirby, member of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors, NEA and Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, and author of The HaHa
"Ahmet Khan's spiritual transition to Emmet Cohn is emotionally resonant. This is an important and unique journey told with compassion and a stirring sense of humanity."
"Why are war stories so often truly love stories? Because, as Mustian proves in The Gendarme, love in the face of war gives testimony that love endures our savagery, our violence, our hatred. In this powerful retelling of the horrible crimes committed against Armenians at the beginning of World War I, The Gendarme is a beautiful, haunting tale of survival and resilience."
Julianna Baggott, author of The Miss America Family and The Madam
A haunting, deeply moving novel-an old man comes face-to-face with his past and sets out to find the love of his life and beg her forgiveness.
To those around him, Emmet Conn is a ninety-two-year-old man on the verge of senility. But what becomes frighteningly clear to Emmet is that the sudden, realistic dreams he is having are memories of events he, and many others, have denied or purposely forgotten. The Gendarme is a unique love story that explores the power of memory-and the ability of people, individually and collectively, to forget. Depicting how love can transcend nationalities and politics, how racism creates divisions where none truly exist, and how the human spirit fights to survive even in the face of hopelessness, this is a transcendent novel. Watch a Video
In this haunting work, an elderly man comes face-to-face with his past and sets out to find the love of his life--and beg her forgiveness.
To most people, Emmett Conn is a confused old World War I veteran, fading in and out of senility. But in his mind, Emmett is haunted by events he'd long forgotten. In his dreams, he's a gendarme, a soldier marching Armenians out of Turkey. He commits unspeakable acts. Yet he feels compelled to spare one remarkable woman: Araxie, the girl with the piercing eyes-one green, one blue.
As the past and present bleed together in The Gendarme, Emmett Conn sets out on one final journey to find Araxie and beg forgiveness, before it's too late. With uncompromising vision and boundless compassion, Mark Mustian has written a transcendent meditation on the power of memory-and the dangers of forgetting who we are and have been.
About the Author
Mark T. Mustian is an author, attorney, and city commissioner. He lives with his wife and three children in Tallahassee, Florida.