By Daphne Abeel
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
Novelist Nancy Kricorian has chosen a somewhat unusual setting for her newest novel. Her story focuses on the plight of the Pegorian family and their Armenian community — all refugees from the Armenian Genocide — who have sought a better and safer life in Paris. But history and violence catch up with them again as they struggle to survive the Nazi invasion and occupation of France during World War II.
Kricorian, a fluid writer, has researched the background for her story with great care and bases her plot on those Armenians who joined the French Communist Resistance, inspired by Missak Manouchian, an Armenian poet, who was ultimately killed with 22 members of his group by the Germans in 1944. To document her fiction, Kricorian traveled to Paris several times and interviewed Armenians who had lived through the Occupation. She was even able to contact one of the few surviving members of the Manouchian group.
Her protagonist is a teenaged girl, Maral Pegorian, the daughter of a shoemaker, and his wife, Azniv, the latter struggling to contribute to the family income with her sewing. The rest of the household is composed of Maral’s aunt, Shakeh, and Maral’s somewhat older brother, Missak, who soon involves himself in Resistance activities with his activist friend, Zaven Kacherian.