Family of Shadows
As a world war rages through Europe in 1915, Ottoman authorities begin the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians – the first genocide of the 20th century. A teenage boy named Kaspar Hovannisian is one among a generation of Armenians who survive the murder of their families and ancestral homeland, and escape to new destinies in the United States. Kaspar follows the American Dream to the San Joaquin Valley of California. But memories of his homeland burn strong—a legacy of love, yearning, and faith in a national rebirth.
Kaspar’s son Richard leaves the family farm ready to defend the history of a lost nation against the forces of time and denial. He helps pioneer the field of Armenian studies in the United States and becomes a world authority on genocide. Kaspar’s grandson Raffi is also haunted by the past, and in 1989 he leaves his law firm in Los Angeles to stage the original act of repatriation to Soviet Armenia, where he goes on to play a historic role in the creation of a new and independent republic.
Now, in a moving book that is part investigative memoir and part history of the Armenian diaspora, Garin Hovannisian tells his family’s story—a tale of tragedy, memory, and redemption which illuminates the long shadows that history casts on the lives of men.