Friday, June 03, 2011

The Gendarme by local author Mark Mustian

Mark Mustian, author of The Gendarme, visited our book club today to discuss his wonderful novel. The story is a meditation on memory in which the dreams of a former Turkish soldier contain the truth of his past. Emmett Conn is 92 and living in Georgia when he begins dreaming of his youth and his involvement in the Armenian diaspora. After 70 years of amnesia caused by his WWI injuries, Emmett's past returns with a vengeance following surgery for a brain tumor. Emmett knows he fought the British at Gallipoli, was wounded, and was cared for by a nurse, Carol, whom he married and accompanied back to the U.S. But in his violent dreams, he relives his actions as a Turkish gendarme in the forced death march of thousands of Armenians into Syria. Emmett recalls snippets of his murderous and rapacious acts but also of his obsession with a beautiful young Armenian girl, Araxie. His dream life leads him to one conclusion: he must find Araxie and beg her forgiveness. The novel effectively captures the human capacity for survival and redemption.

We all enjoyed the book immensely and I can not recommend it highly enough. Thanks, Mark! Your visit made our day!

The Gendarme

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