Number of pages
Greek rights sold
The battle between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian minority is told by Gilbert Sinoué through the lives and deaths of the Tomassian family. He takes them—and us—from the arrests in Constantinople to eastern Anatolia and to the deportation trails across the desert of Mesopotamia. The story is fiction, the facts are not.
Constantinople, August 26, 1896: To make known their poor treatment by the Turks, a band of Armenian rebels, fedais, infiltrates the Imperial Ottoman Bank and takes 150 people hostage. Although arrested, they are soon liberated, thanks to the pressure of Western ambassadors. The men are exiled to France, but in revenge for their act, 5,000 Armenians are massacred.
Eastern Anatolia, July 1914: Three generations of the Tomassian family live in Erzurum. The patriarch is Vahe. Living with him are two sons, the younger Achod and the elder Bedos, who has a wife, Anna, and two children—Aram, their 12-year-old son, and Yeva, their 14-year-old daughter.
The start of World War I, 1914: “Young Turks” reign over the country with an iron hand and cause Turkey to take sides with Germany. In January 1915, the third Ottoman army is crushed in Sarikamish. The Young Turks then decide to resolve the “Armenian question” once and for all by exterminating all Armenians.
Constantinople, the night of April 24, 1915: The Turkish army arrests all Armenians with intellectual or political standing and deports them. Bedos is among those taken. In the following days, in Erzurum, Aram and Yeva must watch as the rest of their family is slaughtered. As part of a group of 100,000 Armenians of all ages, they are then forced on a deportation march—to avoid immediate massacre—into the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia.
Erevan tells the story of a true road through hell for the two children and those they travel with. He writes in human detail the life on the deportation trails, the resistance of some, the death of many, and the unquenchable spirit of the uninhabitable desert.
Gilbert Sinoué : Gilbert Sinoué is both a writer and a historian. Born in Cairo, where he lived until the age of 18, he arrived in France in 1968. He is the best-selling author of 17 novels, essays, and biographies.