Survivor Memoirs of the Armenian Genocide
by Lorne Shirinian.
Blue Heron Press is the Canadian distributor of this new book by Lorne Shirinian. Below is a recent review.
Taderon Press: Reading, England, 1999.
[Lorne Shirinian's new book] is an excellent introduction to survivor memoirs of the Armenian Genocide in Armenian diaspora literature. Shirinian's analysis is primarily through a literary perspective and focuses on American-Armenian publications. "There exists no suitable ready-made form to give shape and meaning to their tragedy [the 1915 genocide], and the writers know that few could have shared the same experiences. Therefore, the way they have chosen to construct their memoir and autobiographical narratives is by incorporating the techniques often appropriate to the novel." Shirinian discusses literary techniques, points out similar works on the Holocaust, and includes photographic images of the Genocide.
He also discusses the impact official Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide. "Because of the onslaught of genocide denial and the willingness of some states to accept the perpetrator's version of the historical events, it is often difficult for Armenians to control the images that represent them. Taken individually, narrative texts in the Armenian diaspora often appear as broken or fragmentary. It seems that for Armenians, memory is not enough; when they speak, they need to retell their story from the beginning on each occasion as any chance for a conjunction of memory, language, and contemporary life often appears to be thwarted. Because so much has been lost, representation is all that remains." Nevertheless, Shirinian concludes that despite the experience of mass annihilation, survivor memoirs are acts of resistance and life affirmation.
from the Newsletter of the Society for Armenian Studies, 24.1 (55) (Winter 2000): 4