WATERTOWN, Mass.—More than 250 people attended the book presentation by author Chris Bohjalian on July 26 at the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA) in Watertown.
The talk was part of a nationwide book tour, dubbed “The Sandcastle Girls Rock and Roll Book Tour,” which took the author across the country, from Los Angeles and San Francisco to New England, New Jersey, and to Capitol Hill.
Bohjalian’s 15th book, The Sandcastle Girls, is considered his most personal novel; he describes the narrator, Laura Petrosian, as a fictional version of himself. The story takes the reader from Aleppo, Syria in 1915 to Bronxville, N.Y. in 2012, and has its roots in the author’s Armenian heritage.
Bohjalian said he wrote a novel in the early 1990’s about the Armenian Genocide, but in the end decided not to publish the manuscript, which he called an “apprentice” work rather than a novel.
Bohjalian, a master speaker, exhibited his talent in public storytelling, showing photos of his family and of his trips to Syria and Armenia, and giving away T-shirts at the end of his presentation. More than 100 copies were sold at the book-signing session.
On July 23, Oprah Winfrey’s blog declared The Sandcastle Girls the must-read “Book of the Week.” The novel was also chosen as an Indie Next selection for August, and Everyday eBook cited it as one of “Eight Summer Books for Beach and Beyond.” The Sandcastle Girls also received stellar appraisals from the Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, and People Magazine.
“The Sandcastle Girls represents—in addition to a great literary work—a great contribution to the American and global public awareness that will be required to end, forever, the cycle of genocide and denial,” said Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).