W for Walrath writing Like Water On Stone (book review) – can siblings survive Armenian holocaust?

book cover of Like Water On Stone by Dana Walrath published by Delacorte PressTied to the land, torn out by the roots,
Furrows running red, victors write the history books.
Holocaust… in Armenia?

Some Christian families fled their Armenian villages when Turkish troops ransacked their homes looking for weapons in 1915.

But Papa stayed put, believing that his Muslim neighbors will remain his friends.

Papa was wrong.

Hear the long-silent voices of the Donabedian family, speaking for all Armenian Genocide victims, as their wonderings, laments, and wishes lyrically weave through this novel-in-verse where an eagle soars from the Palu village sky through the mountains above the youngest ones as they try to find safety.

Did you know about this holocaust – which marked its 100th anniversary last week – before now?

Book info: Like Water On Stone / Dana Walrath. Delacorte Press, 2014, paperback 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [video author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Twin brother and sister disagree often, but when Ottoman troops attack their Armenian village, the teens follow their parents’ orders and flee over the mountains with their little sister, away from the slaughter, watched over by an eagle whose quill made music in Papa’s hands in this many-voiced verse-novel.

Shahen longs to attend school in America with his uncle; his twin sister Sosi wants to stay always in their village. Papa counts Muslims and Christians as friends, teaches Shahen to play the oud with an eagle quill. Mama shows Sosi the cooking secrets, the best ways to weave.

In 1915, soldiers arrive in Palu, searching Christian homes for guns, taking away young men, and the killing begins. Mama dresses beardless Shahen as a girl, sends him with Sosa and so-small Miriam up the mountain trail before bravely returning home.

As Ardziv the eagle watches from the sky, the young ones hide and climb and grow hungry…

Can they survive to reach a place of safety?
Will they ever be able to contact Uncle in New York?
How can lifelong neighbors turn into enemies overnight?

This novel-in-verse hauntingly revisits a little-discussed historical event and the terrors experienced by Armenians of all ages when the Ottoman Empire decided that their land and their lives were forfeit during World War I.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

One thought on “W for Walrath writing Like Water On Stone (book review) – can siblings survive Armenian holocaust?

  1. Visiting you in the final days of the #Challenge. Always happy to find a fellow writer. I write fiction and have a few young people in my life that I can give YA. Hard work to write something that works for young people these days. Your blog is a great intro to your creativity etc. Congratulations. If you have any energy left, come and see what i’ve been up to; having a great month of April.

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