LOS ANGELES — The Armenian Assembly of America in April hosted a discussion and book signing with critically-acclaimed novelist Chris Bohjalian, the #1 New York Times bestselling author. Aline Ohanesian, herself an acclaimed writer, moderated the event, which was followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. After the discussion, guests had an opportunity to have books signed by their respective authors.
Bohjalian spoke to the audience about his books, of which he has written 19. Several have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hartford Courant, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.
His new novel, The Sleepwalker, which was published in January 2017, received a glowing review in Publishers Weekly: “Bohjalian’s storytelling makes this a beautiful, frightening, and unforgettable read.” Julie Kane in the Library Journal wrote: “Bohjalian powerfully narrates an intricately nuanced romance. This is not to be missed. Simply astounding.”
In his novel, The Sandcastle Girls, Bohjalian explored the Armenian Genocide from the perspective of the protagonist Elizabeth Endicott, who joins her father in traveling to Aleppo, Syria to provide aid to deported Armenians. There, she falls in love with Armen Petrosian, an Armenian engineer searching for his wife and child despite being certain they are dead.
Ohanesian, the moderator, is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Orhan’s Inheritance, which was long-listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, a Summer 2015 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, a April 2014 Indie Next pick, and an Amazon Top 25 pick for 2015. The novel was also a finalist for the PEN Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction.
During the insightful discussion between Bohjalian and Ohanesian, the authors shared their respective thoughts on the repercussions of the Armenian Genocide, continued Turkish denial, and the impact of the genocide on their own works of fiction. Bohjalian also reflected upon his visit to historic western Armenia during the centenary of the genocide, as well as his visit to Armenia and Artsakh in September 2016, during which he met with soldiers and civilians alike. Bohjalian shared that filmmaker Eric Nazarian will create a motion picture based on the story of The Sandcastle Girls.