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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Altadena Library Author Presentation: Ravished Paradise by Mardig Madenjian

Join Altadena Library for an engaging author discussion of Mardig Madenjian’s book, Ravished Paradise, about the Armenian Genocide on November 5 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Altadena Library’s community room. Ravished Paradise won the Hollywood Book Festival’s 2016 History Book Award and received much praise in the literary world. Kirkus Reviews reports: “In this ambitious work of narrative history, a son of survivors of a genocide revisits the past that they could not.”

Madenjian (The Heroic Battles on White Mountain, 2015) grew up in the United States and worked as an editor at an Armenian-English newspaper. He writes that he was never able to get his parents to candidly discuss the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Following their deaths, he began writing about his heritage. This book, Ravished Paradise, is the first in a planned trilogy.

The story begins in the fourteenth century, when the last Latin king of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia surrenders to Muslim Mameluk forces. In the unrest that follows, some Christians acquiesce to Muslim rule and others resist. A group of faithful Christian families, led by an aging soldier named Bados, settle a new village in Chongaria, later called Chepni, located in present-day central Turkey. Madenjian descends from these founding families.

By reimagining his ancestors’ lives, Madenjian puts indelible characters into the often faceless tales of atrocities committed against the Armenian people throughout centuries of Ottoman rule. The culmination of the conflict came during World War I, when the Ottoman Empire began to dissolve and authorities sought to exterminate the remaining Armenian people. Madenjian describes this genocide largely through the perspectives of his own parents, then just children, who lived through the Chepni massacre.

Altadena Library is located at 600 E. Mariposa St., Altadena.

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