Synopses & Reviews
In her extraordinary debut, Aline Ohanesian has created two remarkable characters — a young man ignorant of his family’s and his country’s past, and an old woman haunted by the toll the past has taken on her life.
When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather Kemal — a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs — is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But Kemal’s will raises more questions than it answers. He has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather willed his home in Turkey to an unknown woman rather than to his own son or grandson.
Left with only Kemal’s ancient sketchbook and intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There he will not only unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards but discover that Seda’s past now threatens to unravel his future. Her story, if told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which his family has been built.
Moving back and forth in time, between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, Orhan’s Inheritance is a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and the hidden stories that can haunt a family for generations.
“Readers moved by the work of Carol Edgarian, Mark Mustian, and Nancy Kricorian will appreciate the historical authenticity and passion that Ohanesian brings to this story of the Armenian Genocide. Orhan’s Inheritance is heartfelt and sincere.” Chris Bohjalian, author of The Sandcastle Girls
“Orhan’s Inheritance tells us things we thought we knew and shows us we had no idea. Beautiful and terrible and, finally, indelible.” Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America
“A harrowing tale of unimaginable sacrifice . . . A novel that delves into the darkest corners of human history and emerges with a tenuous sense of hope.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Aline Ohanesian draws from her family’s own dark history to create a tender, powerful story of love and reclamation. Orhan’s Inheritance is a breathtaking and expansive work of historical fiction and proof that the past can sometimes rewrite the future.” Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train
When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, Seda, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Over time, Orhan begins to unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards — a story that, if it’s told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan’s family is built and could unravel Orhan’s own future.
Like Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, Ohanesian’s moving debut showcases formidable storytelling talents and powerful truths.