My Grandmother, By Fethiye Cetin
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
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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