With all the poignancy of a man at his mother’s deathbed, holding her hand and reflecting on the story that will no longer be theirs but his alone, Henri Verneuil begins the journey back to a childhood lovingly remembered.
It is an odyssey that takes us not only through time, but through the complex landscape of relationships and emotional milestones in which the young Achod Malakian grew to manhood. It was a landscape of many colors, but in that extraordinary circle of devoted mother (mayrig), father and two maternal aunts, it was, above all, the brilliant color of love, tinged with the hues of Armenian joy and sadness.
The steamer to France, the search for work and a place to live, the nightmare of school—these are only some of the places Verneuil takes us. At every stop, he paints an affecting picture that, in simple and sparing words, speaks volumes about a boy and his family.
And yet, the book describes the universal experience of all men and women who, one way or another, at one time or another, are exiled and reborn, heartbroken and hopeful, defeated and triumphant.
MayrigHenri Verneuil; translated from French by Elise Antreassian Bayizian
St. Vartan Press, 2006