American volunteer Elizabeth Endicott and Armenian engineer Armen Petrosian fall in love amidst the horrors of the Armenian massacres. Their bond is challenged by separation and danger. In 2011, novelist Laura Petrosian researches their story and learns of a past few discuss.
Bohjalian recreates the past, and how it can affect the present, on several levels. One level is physical details such as descriptions of living conditions. Bohjalian’s description of emotions evokes them and also pulls the reader into the story. Having the perspective of Americans, Armenians, Germans, a Turkish Gendarme and Laura in the present provides food for thought.The Sandcastle Girls could be a good choice for readers searching for a strong atmospheric story and/or a story that provokes thought.
Other books, like The Sandcastle Girls, also focus on the Armenian massacres. These include:
Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh tells the story of 5,000 Armenians who resisted siege by the Turkish army for forty days.
Mark Mustian’s The Gendarme tells the story of a dying man faced with memories he’d rather forget: his participation during the Armenian massacres and his love for an Armenian girl.
Peter Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate: An Armenian Son Uncovers His Armenian Past: A Memoir also provides a look at the Armenian Genocide and its impact on descendants of survivors.