Wednesday, 30 July 2014

" Anyush " by Martine Madden.




I received a copy of this book from the publishers in return for an honest review..........

Anyush is a young Armenian girl who is surrounded by a world of war and poverty, mistrust and deceipt yet dreams of better things.  She sees only the good in the darkest of places and has hopes for the future of her small village in Turkey.  However, the year is 1915 and things are about to get a lot worse for Armenians within The Ottoman Empire.  Turkish soldiers begin to take over the land and with a caste system in place, where Armenians are at the bottom and the realities of war hit fast and hard.  

Dr, Charles Stewart is a missionary medic who has made it his lifes cause to help those who need it the most, regardless of their race, religion or nationality.  He has moved his wife from her comfortable home in America, in order to do this, but will he regret his decision? 

Captain Jahan Orfalea is a Turkish soldier who must carry out unspeakable tasks and lead his troops through some devastating details.  A good man, with a heart which belies his uniform, can he ignore the effects of the war and the millions of people who are are suffering?  Is his pride in his Country and his race enough to carry on? 


This is not just a story of war.  It is a story of hope, innocence, ignorance and grief.  A tale of love, boundaries, forgiveness and disbelief.  Armenians are often overlooked in the world of fiction.  We have all read of the atrocities of war, from WW1 trench tales, to The Holocaust in WW2 and current fiction based in Afghanistan.  Many, many stories based on real events.  But this was a new approach for me.  The massive scale of Armenian genocide is brought to life in this novel, based on actual events.  Martine Madden has researched with obvious care and yet has managed to inject the story with the balance of cold, hard facts with beautiful, warm and genuine moments of fiction.  The protagonist, Anyush, is a character of strength and yet she has her own inner weakness.  This makes her come to life and linger with you, long after closing the back cover.  I didn't just read this book, I inhaled it.  The sights, smells and atmosphere were written with such clarity and were respectful of the period.  There was no need to add moral anecdotes or righteous opinion to this work.  It was simple and lyrical without needing any further addictions.  At first I struggled to keep up with all the characters, but this is due more to the language and unusual names rather than having too many different threads in the book.  Told from three main viewponts, each chapter has its own voice and each deserve their place.  There are no fillers in this book.  

Martine Madden has written a work of fiction that deserves its place on every bookshelf, alongside The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Sophie's Choice and Schindler's Ark.  371 pages that need to be read, enjoyed and appreciated.  A haunting tale that will forever stay with you.
Cannot recommend highly enough..............

Anyush is published by Brandon, an imprint of The O'Brien Press and is available in paperback an ebook format 


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