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ASKING THE RIVER by David Kherdian


by David Kherdian & illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-531-05483-7
Publisher: Orchard

 Like other recent Kherdian protagonists, Stepan is preoccupied with his inner life. As a second-generation Armenian- American, he may be angry because he's been left back so many times that he'll be too old for varsity sports by the time he gets to high school; he may also raise his parents' ire by dropping out of Armenian language classes and trying a different church in protest against internecine strife; but what really interests him--as he goes fishing, ponders the differences between his hardworking family and the volatile, more creative Tedeyans, or contemplates the river--is the meaning of his own identity. The first part of this ruminative book sets the scene-- a couple of generations ago in Racine, Wisconsin, where immigrant Armenians were, at best, second class. ``Book Two'' is even more overtly philosophical; there's virtually no action, yet this 13- year-old's passionate quest is honest and clearsighted enough to hold the attention of at least those special few like him. Stepan's epiphany is realizing that it's inner freedom he must achieve, and that he must find it for himself. Gracefully written; Hogrogian contributes a hauntingly pensive portrait and a couple of scenes in dark pencil. (Fiction. 10+)