ZORA by Arelo Sederberg


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Here, Sederberg (The Power Players, 1980, etc.) offers the meandering but often affecting tale of an Armenian woman who vows revenge against the Turkish leader who killed her mother. In May 1915, Zora Kazorian, 12, lives with her brother, Arra, and her parents in a peaceful village on the banks of the Euphrates River--until hordes of Turkish soldiers, driven by nationalistic fervor, begin their slaughter of the Armenians. Zora watches from hiding as a young officer leading a band of Turks--one Kemal Gokalp--kills her mother; thereafter, she lives only for revenge. After many hair-raising adventures, Zora and Arra escape across the Mediterranean to Egypt, and finally to America. Their father, Komitas, soon joins them--minus one leg, and broken in spirit. But the three settle in Fresno and make a success of a vineyard, despite anti-Armenian prejudice. At this point, unfortunately, the story loses momentum after a powerful start, going off on tangential and rather unbelievable plot complications (Zora and Arra become barnstorming pilots, strike oil, etc.). By 1952, Zora is a famous opera singer and finally catches up with Kemal Gokalp--by now a wealthy industrialist in Germany who has all but forgotten his role in the Armenian genocide. By the time Zora exacts justice, most of the drama here has long dissipated; but, at least in that strong beginning, there's a vivid portrait of a young girl's struggle to survive.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1989
ISBN: 944276-44-X
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