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  • 2nd Part of Review - Gardens of Grief

    Love it
    1 posts, 1 voices, 958 views, started Sep 1, 2010

    Posted on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 by Sis Howell

    • Amethyst

      There are other aspects of Boston Teran’s GARDENS of GRIEF I would like to draw your attention to. The first, the parabolic nature of the style in which it is written. Many of the characters are addressed not always by their proper names, but by their symbolic name...the priest...the guide...the dragoman (county politico and translator)...the captain...the German... This gives the players in the drama an archetypal feel, a kind of cross-cultural timelessness.  They are also written in a manner for the reader to imbue each of these characters with their own set of internal meanings and feelings, their own iconography.

      This leads me to my second point, which I believe will make the book hotly debated beyond the fact it has taken a dynamic stand on one of the most controversial events of modern World History. GARDENS OF GRIEF can be viewed through many political prisms. The parabolic and cross-cultural feel of it, especially when focused on the central character...the priest, Malek.... can be read and seen many ways.

      The priest.. a political figure, willing to die to free his people, takes up arms to fight, has killed, has been put in prison, has been tortured, but refuses to yield, escapes to fight again, is a hero to his people, understands who he is and what he is doing. This could be a George Washington type of personage, or a Nathan Hale who called out before his hanging “Give me Liberty or give me Death“. From another perspective he could be a Robespierre or a Che Guevara. He could be John Brown inciting a war to free the slaves, or a member of the IRA. He could be Emperor Constantine merging Christianity and the flag of Rome, or a militant cleric from the Middle East rallying his followers. Malek is the vanguard of every revolution that ever was, or ever will be. I could imagine a child reading about Malek then going off to fight at Lexington and Concord, or in war torn Africa, the war torn states of Eastern Europe, the endless war torn states of everywhere and anywhere. And in that GARDENS OF GRIEF is a cautionary tale, a means by which we can view political friends and enemies, and how they become both.

      Without giving details away, the climax of the book, much like the central struggle and drama of THE SONG OF ROLAND, an intentional act of sacrifice, could also be called Thermopyle or Bataan, Masada or the 47 Ronin or the Battle of Saragarhi. It was meant to be that kind of universal moment, but something else, and something more.

      And that something else, something more is detailed in one particular instant near the end of the book, when John Lourdes is looking out over a potential site for the final, strategic confrontation between their small group of Armenian citizen/soldiers and a much larger enemy force, and he thinks to himself... From the first brutal murders on the quay in Constantinople, to the bombing at the Armenikend, he had been witness to the future, and the stark barbarity that gave birth to it. He saw that a new level of infamy had been ushered into all their lives. And he understood, they did not have the makings for a long fight, so one single and terrifying act would have to be enough to exact their will.

      When the author uses the words “one single and terrifying act to exact their will” he is reminding us all fights ultimately now can lead to a Hiroshima or a 9/11.

      Love it

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