Friday, December 12, 2008

I came to receive a book in an unusual fashion this Fall. I was at the La Jolla Writer's Conference for a weekend on Mission Bay Park in San Diego. In the closing hour of the conference I wandered into the book store to see if I'd missed anything. I had.

There on the table was "The Knock At The Door" by Margaret Ajemian Ahnert. I'd never heard of her, but looking at the back, I saw she was describing her mother's ordeal as a young girl during the Armenian genocide in Turkey. I asked if I could buy it, but the book store directed me to someone else standing in the room.

When I asked if I could buy it, the man said "No, but I'll give it to you." I was puzzled, but soon found out he was the publisher and he gave me the book. After mumbling my thanks, I left.

He gave me a signed copy. The publisher is Beaufort Books of New York. The book was copyrighted in 2007.

The author goes between present day as she talks to her mother about this ordeal, and the fictionalized account of what happened. She calls it fiction because her mother was in her 90s at the time. Much of what her mother said could not be verified, but Margaret said, "She told me the same stories again and again and the details never varied."

So, this is a very personal account, often pleasing as she tells of being an Armenian child growing up in Turkey. But the mother tells us, "I had so many mothers. Has any other child had so many mothers?"

This is a story of horror told through the eyes of a child. Through it all she survived. It's a story of strength and survival.

I recommend it.


"The Knock at the Door" by Margaret Ajemian Ahnert, Beaufort Books, New York, 2007.

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