SOME OF US SURVIVED by Kerop Bedoukian


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Bedoukian, a Turkish Armenian who emigrated to Canada in 1926 after several years of displacement, was nine in 1915 when his father was arrested and the rest of the family had to leave their home and begin the long deportation march Kherdian describes in The Road From Home (p. 644, J-164). Bedoukian's mother keeps their extended family going (""Leave the dead and take care of the living"" is her ""curt answer"" when informed that her six-year-old daughter has died)--though ultimately only nine of 60 survive and some of those she has protected ""drop out,"" through with sharing when their own fortunes improve. There is less charm and personality and loving family life in Bedoukian's memoir than in Kherdian's fictionalized biography of his mother, more brutality and dehumanization-and many of the atrocities of which Kherdian's young girl heard rumors are observed at first hand by young Kerop. (Turkish guards cut off a young girl's breasts as an example to the crowd; stragglers relieving themselves in the woods are popped off for target practice.) Yet at least for the first years Kerop looks forward to many of the moves as adventures into the unknown, and his young child's open curiosity and direct reporting prove highly effective in both recreating the events and in making them bearable without soft-pedaling or evasion.

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 1979
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux