MAMIGON by Jack Hashian


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In sharp contrast to the rich, textured evocation of Turkish oppression and post-WW I Greek-immigrant life in Kazan's The Anatolian (p. 616), Hashian's episodic novel turns the parallel Armenian experience into one-dimensional melodrama--with non-stop violence, coincidental encounters, and a comic-book superman of a hero. This un-killable titan is Mamigon, a soldier/blacksmith whose wife and children are among the countless Armenians slaughtered and mutilated by Turks in 1915. Furthermore, Mamigon's old Turkish army friend, Tallal Bey, is personally responsible for this massacre. So Mamigon, leading a small group of survivors (mostly raped women) to the coast, vows vengeance--miraculously zapping dozens of Turks with his scimitar, repeatedly escaping captivity. And after he has gotten most of his followers to safety, Mamigon sets off alone to kill Tallal, rescuing Turkish girl Guzell from rapists along the way: after he introduces her to sex, super-hero-style (""duration and repetition certain to spoil her for the rest of her life""), she helps him to track down his nemesis in Izmir. But though Mamigon does apparently shoot Tallal fatally in Izmir harbor, Tallal doesn't die. Worse yet, it seems that Guzell has betrayed Mamigon! And so everyone will wind up crossing each other's paths . . . in Boston--where all have arrived as immigrants. (Also coming to Boston: Mamigon's long-lost brother Aram, long-lost friend Tatios, and another nemesis--castrated Turkish assassin Enver Dash.) Over the next few years, then, seaman Mamigon will rediscover, forgive, and marry Guzell; Tallal will try repeatedly to have Mamigon (now a truckdriver) killed, via Enver Dash (both Aram and Guzell will die); Mamigon will find second True Love in the graphically detailed deflowering of schoolteacher Emily; and finally, circa 1921, Tallal will die. . . but not by the hand of Mamigon, who has given up bloodlust-hatred at last. (Plus: an epilogue, 1923-1946, following the career of Mamigon's son and winding up with the murder of Mamigon by Enver Dash.) Aside from the opening sections of sensationalized history, then: routine blood-feud melodramatics--gory throughout, sometimes amateurishly written (""His fleshy wand had decreed a cessation of menstruation in at least a dozen of his transient partners in divan gymnastics""), but undeniably energetic fare for those partial to slash-'em-up action.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan