Publishers’ Weekly weighs in on “The Sandcastle Girls”

Publishers’ Weekly weighed in on “The Sandcastle Girls” this week and I couldn’t be more grateful — given how important this book is to me.

“Powerful. . .Bohjalian’s storytelling makes this a beautiful, frightening, and unforgettable read.”

Here is the review in its entirety:

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The Sandcastle Girls

Chris Bohjalian. Doubleday, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-53479-6

Bohjalian’s powerful newest (after The Night Strangers) depicts the Armenian genocide and one contemporary novelist’s quest to uncover her heritage. In 1915, Bostonian Elizabeth Endicott arrives at a compound in Aleppo, Syria, to provide humanitarian aid to Armenian refugees. A fresh-faced nurse just out of college, Elizabeth has learned only rudimentary Armenian, but soon befriends Armen Petrosian, an engineer who lost his wife and daughter during the chaos of the deportations and mass murders. Though Armen departs for Egypt to fight with the British Army in WWI, their relationship blossoms into an epistolary romance. The atrocities of the genocide and the First World War continue, and Bohjalian spares no detail in his gritty descriptions. Nearly a century later, Laura Petrosian is living in the suburbs of New York City when a friend alerts her to a possible photo of her grandmother being used to advertise an exhibit about “the Slaughter You Know Next to Nothing About.” As she explores her past, Laura discovers that what she once considered to be her grandparents’ eccentricities—their living room was dubbed the “Ottoman Annex”—speak to a rich and tragic history. Though the action occasionally feels far-off, Bohjalian’s storytelling makes this a beautiful, frightening, and unforgettable read. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Gelfman Schneider. (July)

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