My Grandmother, By Fethiye Cetin
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 21 July 2012
This slim book, gracefully written and elegantly translated by Maureen Freely, bears a heavy history.
Cetin, a human-rights lawyer in Turkey, grew up believing grandmother Seher to be a Muslim Turk like her other relatives.
Much later she discovered the truth about an Armenian girl called Heranus, plucked from the massacres and death-marches of 1915 by a gendarme and brought up in his family.
Millions of Turks have such ancestors. Their stories, with this as a luminous example, now help the historic push for reconciliation.
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