Forsaken Love

(ISBN: 978-1-903656-65-6)
Taderon Press (Publisher) Gomidas Institute (Publisher)
2006 London
325 pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Language(s): English

Additional Artists

Ara Sarafian (Editor, Translator) Ara Stepan Melkonian (Translator, Editor)

Forsaken Love is about the destruction of Ottoman Armenians in 1915, written from the perspective of the victims. Though a fictional account, it is based on real testimonies, which Dadrian heard and recorded himself. Many of the scenes in the novel are clearly based on his diaries. The opening political setting of the novel is the Ottoman entry into WWI followed by the decision of the Turkish government to deport and eliminate Armenian subjects. Forsaken Love captures the sense of bewilderment, helplessness and suffering of Armenians following the victimization of entire communities; the mass arrest, torture and killing of community leaders; the execution of Armenian soldiers serving in the Ottoman army; and the great massacres of Der Zor. Dadrian portrays Armenian criminals, informers and apostates who work with the executioners, as well as others who become slave workers simply to live. Within a single novel, Dadrian presents real scenarios—some simple, others profound—about the Armenian Genocide. Dadrian also introduces the Arab struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire. This is first portrayed through a group of Arab deserters, led by an officer from a prominent Arab family, who help to save Armenians in Der Zor, and then other Arab characters from Lebanon and Syria. The presence of the Arab struggle in Dadrian’s novel should not be surprising, given that the author’s family survived the Armenian Genocide amongst Arabs in Jeresh from 1915 to 1919. The political setting of the novel changes with the end of WWI in 1918, and the expectation of Armenian survivors to return to their homes and villages—under the protection of the Allied powers. However, by 1923, these survivors are abandoned by the European powers (most notably France and Great Britain) when a new Turkish nationalist movement sweeps across Cilicia and many other parts of the former Ottoman Empire, and seals the fate of Armenians once and for all. This novel is centered on a main character, Kirk, who survives this period to tell his story. He is a romantic hero who resists his executioners and fights for his people, while his world collapses around him, first with the apparent death of Sara (his financé from Erzeroum), and then the death of his second love and wife, Julia, who dies in his arms. Forsaken Love is a remarkable and very powerful novel, which reflects much of the reality of the Armenian Genocide and influenced a whole generation.

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