I was not impressed. I did not know (as the book says) about the Armenian genocide and so it was interesting to learn a bit of history. The story, though, was at first confusing and then just too contrived for my liking.
I thought the writing was at times too stiled and Bohjalian was trying too hard. He wanted to paint a broad picture, but sometimes his details were lacking. For example: “‘I hope it’s not only vengeance,’ he tells her, though that is indeed the largest part of it—that and the rage he feels as a member of a people who have been reduced to victims.” How is this not a definition of vengeance? So it is vengeance in large part and a resentment of being a victim for the rest? Yeah, that’s still my definition of vengeance.
I fold the confiscation of the photo plates to be too timely. It happens just as the counsel comes to get them. Certainly, this is required later so that the Turkish solider knows to come find him, but it is just overkill.
Similarly, I found the unfolding of the story of Nazimi to be too melodramatic. We see Armen kill the soliders on the train, but Bohijian teases the reader with the Nazimi story throughout most of the novel.
The ending with Karine seeing Elizabeth and Armen and then committing suicide was soo Romeo and Juillet. It was again so convenient that she finds him AT THE SAME TIME that he returns to Elizabeth. And the fact that Nevart’s nephews find her around this time as well is equally unbelievable. Millions of people died (hence the genocide), but of course the families of the main character survivors are all there.
Overall it was an okay read. I learned something about the Armenian genocide, but the plot line of the story was too contrived and overly romaticized.