Douglas Kalajian

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Douglas Kalajian's career in newspapers took off in the fading days of manual typewriters and touched down in the digital age.

As an editor, reporter and feature writer for the Palm Beach Post and the Miami Herald, he helped chronicle South Florida's explosive growth and equally explosive crime and corruption over three decades.

His first book, Snow Blind, grew out of a front-page story about a brilliant young public defender whose ideals and health fell victim to the region's cocaine insanity in the 1980s. After retiring from newspapers, Kalajian co-authored They Had No Voice: My Fight for Alabama's Forgotten Children.

His memoir, Stories My Father Never Finished Telling Me, explores the continuing effects of the Armenian Genocide on his own life as an American-born son of a survivor who would not speak about the tragedy he witnessed.

Kalajian lives in Boynton Beach, Florida. He and his wife, Robyn, produce, a site devoted to preserving and celebrating Armenian cuisine.

Stories My Father Never Finished Telling Me Cover

Stories My Father Never Finished Telling Me

BY Douglas Kalajian • POSTED ON May 31, 2014

Kalajian’s (co-author: They Had No Voice: My Fight for Alabama’s Forgotten Children, 2013, etc.) “ethno-memoir” is an elegiac reflection on growing up under the specter of the trials a family, and a whole people, experienced.

Kalajian, in his third book, touches upon both his upbringing as an American boy and his being a bearer of a tortured Armenian past. The remembrances are deeply personal meditations on what it was like to live distanced from a world with which he had very little direct contact even as it powerfully shaped his life. Readers will sense the author’s background as an investigative journalist as he tries to wrestle the facts of his history from his family’s laconic resistance to speak openly about it. Kalajian’s inscrutable father is a near mystery; only slowly, in fits and starts, does Kalajian learn about his adventurous but hardship-ridden life. He had no idea his father went to China or Borneo and no idea his father grew up in Greece or that he was raised in an orphanage. Even his more voluble mother’s tales were carefully edited and studiously redacted. While not intended as a work of rigorous scholarship, Kalajian’s book contains considerable discussion about the history of Armenians, and much is revealed about their experience with Turkish persecution and global neglect. However, this is largely an autobiographical tale. “I am not a historian, and this is not a book of facts and dates and sober analysis,” he says. “This is a story told by a man born in midair whose only hope for a good night’s sleep is to close his fingers around the frayed cord of history and tug with all his might.” His polished, sometimes even poetic prose evokes a sense of curiosity and lament. In response to his family’s silence—and to the silence of a whole people still shellshocked by their grim treatment—Kalajian has become a professional storyteller and an excellent one at that.

An affecting account of an American man attempting to uncover his Armenian heritage and history.

Pub Date: May 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615979021

Page count: 258pp

Publisher: 8220 Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015


Snow Blind

The true story of an idealistic public defender whose ego blinds him to the dangers of cocaine. Howard Finkelstein sets out to defend the poor and powerless but ends up counsel to some of the most dangerous men in South Florida. Money and fame take the place of family and principle, until he finds himself in a jail cell instead of a courtroom. Howard is forced to make the hard choices that will either lead to his salvation or to his final ruin.
Published: Dec. 1, 2000
ISBN: 0-9667883-8-9

They Had No Voice: My Fight For Alabama's Forgotten Children

Co-written with Denny Abbott, They Had No Voice recounts Abbott's fight with the state of Alabama to stop the horrendous abuse of black children in state custody. Fired from his job and shunned in his home town, Abbott persevered and went on to become a nationally reognized advocate for children.
Published: Jan. 24, 2013
ISBN: 978-1603062091
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