A Summer Without Dawn: An Armenian Epic (Interlink World Fiction) - Agop J. Hacikyan;Jean-Yves Soucy NO SPOILERS!!!

One thing that is great about GR is that it forces me to figure out with my head what I am feeling in my gut about a given book. I like writing reviews so that I can bring the book back when I begin to forget. Also I use my review as a place to bubble over or explode if a book is excellent or horrible. I always judge a book only in terms of how it affects me, and that in no way assumes that others will have the same thoughts or emotions. Reading a book is an emotional experience for me. This book did NOT move me emotionaly - until the end, and then it did it superbly. It is an action packed, suspense filled adventure story, very much plot driven. It follows what happened to the Armenians in 1915 under the Young Turks and during WW1. I personaly prefer books that focus on how particular experiences shape individuals due to their emotional impact. A very large part of this book was about what "happened". The history is accurately and most often in an interesting manner woven into the plot. That is to say that what happens to the main characters is what happeened to many Armenians. All the historical events are there in the story. The plot driven characteristic of the book put me off. I felt like it was written as a film script! It had to be exciting. It had to encompass horror and excitement and sadness and resolution. Also the names - there were so many people I had a very hard time keeping the names straight. New people were added throughout the whole book! And the names are hard to pronounce nor easily recognizable. But I managed; this it is not an insurmountable problem! What I want to really emphasize is that I think most readers WILL like the action packed drama AND I was very pleased because the last 100 pages focused on how the prime protagonists dealt with their experiences emotionally. I enjoyed this focus on how life experiences had changed the people to the core. The characters realized themselves the need to resolve their emotional battles. The prose is predominantly just plain ordinray. Some of the sentences are really bad with phrases such as "your wish is my comand", and occasionaly the prose shines.

Through page 200: This is NOT an easy read. I wanted to read more about the deportation of Armenians from Turkey in 1915 and about the Young Turks. I wanted to know more about the genocide that Turkey today so vehemently denies. The history is carefully documented. It is a book that is read to "find out what happened". It is not pleasant. I usually say that I want a little humor in books....there isn't much here. Nevertheless, I am glad I am reading this book. It is plot driven rather than offering character analysis. Usually I do not go after plot driven books, but again I surprise myself and say I am glad to be reading this book. There is a detailed map, a glossary of Turkish and Armenian words and even a name list. Nevertheless it has been necessary for me to write down the character names and a few descriptive notes, to keep everybody straight. Now at 200 pages I rarely need my list, but making it has helped me understand who is who. There are more names than those in the character list at the front of the book. There are 545 pages in the book. I have read a plot synopsis. I already KNOW that other issues than the actual deportaion march to the Syrian desert will take over the book. I am glad b/c I cannot read JUST about these horrible events. Neither would I say the prose is beautiful - you are just plain given the facts of what happened through the gruesome sufferings of the charactes - a mother, father , grandmother and son. There are friends and a dog that you come to care for too. Although the writing doesn't sparkle, the clear fact telling DOES fit the plot line. Again I am satisfied. So I am not complaining about the prose either! I have pointed out several aspects of this book that I could be griping about, BUT I AM NOT GRIPING. Maybe I don't know why, but I AM very glad I am reading this book.