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The Gendarme

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,227 ratings  ·  294 reviews
What would you do if the love of your life, and all your memories, were lost- only to reappear, but with such shocking revelations that you wish you had never remembered...

Emmett Conn is an old man, near the end of his life. A World War I veteran, he's been affected by memory loss since being injured during the war. To those around him, he's simply a confused man, fadin
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Juliana
The Armenian Genocide, an old man just beginning to remember, a young soldier falling in love, and the search for forgiveness (4.5 stars)

This book was haunting and beautifully written - this last being all the more noticeable and affecting given the utter ugliness and horror that the language is often portraying. Mustian brings to life with searing vividness the squalor, disease, and everyday violence that made up the caravans, tent cities, and refugee destinations of the Armenian Genocide. He u
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Lainie
As a 2nd generation Diasporan Armenian, I typically dread reliving stories about the Armenian Genocide that took place around 1915 in Western Turkey. Growing up, I heard enough stories from elderly relatives who survived, many of whom lost wives, husbands, children, parents, and friends. But my sister's avid recommendation of this book prompted me to try it.

Mark Mustain uses an ingenious plot device: a brain tumor that spurs recollections from many decades before. The protagonist would just as
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Carol
I so wish this rating system was different, but I loved this book and learned so much from it. Mainly, I was deeply moved by Emmett Conn's story, told through his dreams that took place 70 yrs. earlier. Emmett is now 92 yrs. old and ready to die, but his dreams return him to a time during W.W.I when his Turkish Gov. commits genocide against millions of Armenians. His true love, Araxie, was a deportee then, & the plight of these people is vividly described. The extermination of Jews was not t ...more
Felice
The Gendarme
Flower!

Why do you pick up a book? What makes that book alluring as opposed to the one next to it? Everyone has their sucker points. I'm a sucker for: maps, unique type styles, fabrics, patterns, shoes with no feet in them (But never, never ever feet with no shoes on them!), dishes, tea kettles and tea pots, partially revealed figures and the just plain pretty. Since I buy lots of books there must be an awful lot of covers that peak my interest. Of course you may judge a book worthy
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Naomi
I can remember when this book first came out and all the hype about it..to me, it seemed like an over-rated book that had hit gold with feel good reviews. My immediate response to reading it was "Meh~it seems overhyped."..Skip forward six months and it was announced that this was the choice for the live book club I am a part of. I was less than thrilled. I WAS SO WRONG, IT ISN'T EVEN FUNNY. This book is so much more than what I thought it was going to be. Normally, in reading, I am one to make j ...more
Tori
Eh. Story of an old Turkish man who worked as a gendarme (basically the police) for the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian genocide. Trick is, he doesn't remember anything due to a past head injury and current brain tumor. Switches between present-day Georgia (the state) and Anatolia around 1915.

Enjoyed the parts where the character (Ahmet Khan, anglicized to Emmett Conn) explored his memory, you know, because I'm kinda into this collective memory, politics of forgetting in relation to war crim
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Camie
I found The Gendarme equal parts interesting and disturbing. I knew nothing about the Armenian genocide, and although I was glad to be enlightened to those events, it was definitely a tough read. But, this book left such a lasting impression that I’m glad I kept enduring.

Emmett Conn fought in WWI and was injured. Through some sort of twist of fate, he ends up recovering and moving to the United States, and he gets married and has children—a normal, unremarkable life by many. However, in his old
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Natania
While I was riveted from the start, and rushed through the final chapters to know the ending, I had somewhat mixed feelings about the quality of the prose and the storytelling. On the whole the book was moving and well written, but some prose quirks kept recurring, and the character was not finally as developed as I would have liked him to be. Still, people need to read about the Armenian genocide, and it was a daring and mostly successful strategy to write about it from the point of view of an ...more
E
The Gendarme appears to be Mark Mustian's first foray into the novel and the book is not a bad first effort. The book describes the ninety-year-old Emmett Conn's struggle with a brain tumor and a series of dreams that follow the forced deportations of Armenians from Turkey during WWI. The narrative flows back-and-forth between these two stories, which eventually overlap as Emmett tries to find Araxie, a young Armenian woman he encountered while escorting deportees to Aleppo, Syria.

Mustian's nar
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Maria
I grew up speaking Hungarian to my grandfather, but eventually learned that he was Armenian. I never found out how his family came to live in Hungary, but was drawn to The Gendarme to learn a bit about the Armenian people. This book didn't really do that for me, as it was told from the perspective of a Turkish man, but his immigrant experience was quite familiar to me and I did like the story.

The story goes back and forth between Emmett's current life and the dreams of his past as Ahmet. I can s
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Diane

The haunting cover art, portraying a lovely young girl with two different colored eyes, is what first attracted me to this debut novel, The Gendarme. Trust me, once you finish this story it will stay with you for days to come.

In 1990, Emmett Conn is a 92 year old Turkish-American man, who is recovering from surgery for a brain tumor. In Georgia, to his family and friends he seems confused or senile. However, what has happened to Emmett is that after his surgery he is experiencing vivid dreams of
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Jill
First of all, thank you, Goodreads First Reads, for the opportunity to preview this book! With the one hundredth anniversary of the Armenian deportations only a few years away, author Mark Mustian has set himself a daunting task: to follow his character’s footsteps and to serve as a gendarme, a guide in the wilderness. For the most part, he succeeds admirably.

As Mr. Mustian writes in the epilogue, “Genocide perhaps represents the ugliest of human deeds, the mass killing of often defenseless fell
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Karen
This novel is about a 92-year-old man, Emmett Conn, who has memory loss from a head injury he received during World War I, but all of the sudden he begins having dreams about those times, and he realizes they are memories about what happened when he was eighteen. He discovers he was a gendarme, a policeman, escorting Armenians from Turkey (which was basically genocide). Alot of what he did was terrible. He falls in love with one of the Armenians and they get separated and he goes to great length ...more
Barbarac
I'm torn, and don't know how to rate this book. I liked it, don't take me wrong. The first half of the book, through dreams/memories, we get parts of the story Emmet/Ahmet, and his part on the Armenian "transport" to Syria from Turkey during WWI. Yeah, "transport". Note of sarcasm here.
The story is interesting, but slow, and I didn't care much for the present story of Emmet, and his uncomfortable relationships with everybody around him. Specially with his daughters and grandson. The book starts
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McKenzie
Overall, this was an intriguing read. I did not know much about the Armenian genocide and want to do more research on the topic now.

As far as literary qualities of the book, I had a few minor issues. For one thing, the elderly narrator seems very detached from not only the people around him, but emotions in general. I wanted more information about his relationships with his children, his grandchildren, and his wife; there were only a few moments when he truly seemed to grasp the emotional implic
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Rosanne
The Gendarme by Mark T. Mustian is a novel about a Turkish man who is dying. As the tumor continues to grow in his brain; he is plagued by memories of a time in his life when he was a Gendarme in the Turkish army deporting Armenians from their homeland. Ahmet Kahn is Emmett Conn a 92 year old American citizen who raised a family in America. He married Carol an American nurse who was working in a London hospital where he was a patient recuperating from head wounds he received during the Turkish w ...more
Carly Thompson
I gave this book around 100 pages before finally giving up. I usually really like historical fiction & the topic (the lasting effects of the Armenian genocide) seemed interesting but I really disliked the author's style and the presentation of the story. The structure of the book alternates between the current events of Emmett Conn's life--he is diagnosed with a brain tumor and has a distant relationship with adult daughters--and the dreams/flashbacks Emmett has of himself escorting Armenian ...more
Wilma
I just finished this book on the recommendation of my hubby. At first I thought: eh, I’m not going to like this. However, I soon found that I could not put this book down.
This is a beautifully written story about Emmett Conn, a 92-year old man coming to terms with the role he played during the genocide of the Armenian people by the Turks. Emmett has lost much of his memory from a head injury suffered during the war. However, during the latter part of his life, his memory returns to him through
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Curt Jarrell
Jul 25, 2010 Curt Jarrell added it
Recommends it for: Literature lovers, Book groups
The Gendarme is a powerful and poignant journey of a man who uncovers a forgotten past. Following treatment for a small brain tumor memories, long suppressed, begin returning. He was wounded during WWI, a head injury robbing him of his past. The truths slowly returns; he was part of the Armenian genocide. He bonded with a young woman and did all he could to keep her safe from danger, losing his heart in the process. The limits of his humanity come into contrast with his actions and what he knows ...more
Candice
Jul 27, 2010 Candice rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Candice by: publisher sent me an uncorrected proof
Emmet Conn, a.k.a. Ahmet Khan is a 92-year-old Turkish-American living in Wadesboro, GA when he learns he has a brain tumor. He begins to remember his part in escorting Armenians from Turkey at the beginning of World War I. The book goes from present to past with vivid flashbacks of the hell on earth that befell the Armenians. We learn of Emmet's life in America, his family, his successes, his failures. But mostly the story focuses on one young Armenian woman who captured his heart. I think what ...more
Anya
This is a profound book in many ways – it explores themes of genocide and forgiveness of victims, the reasons for people to join in the violence and why the majority of those who don’t participate in atrocities remain silent, and ultimately coming to terms with your own conscience at the life’s end. Yet it is a dark haunting book with a hopeless ending, because ultimately our lives are about redemption of our own mistakes (as horrible as they might be), which cannot be attained on our own or eve ...more
Ellen
I found this book to be fascinating. It usually takes me a month or so to read a novel, but I read this entire book in a weekend. I simply could not put it down.

My favorite books are historical novels and this one did not disappoint. It tells the story of an elderly man, reliving his experiences during WW1 through dreams. The story is remarkable and very believable. I did not know the story of the genocide of the Armenians in Turkey. The story is very descriptive and I found it easy to follow e
...more
Cherae
I won this as a Goodreads giveaway.
Gendarme is a very well-written, engaging historical novel. I read it in two sittings which is the highest compliment I can give considering I do not have much free time to read these days.
It is about the Armenian genocide you've probably never heard of or heard very little about and written in a "flashbacks" style weaving past and present very effectively and intuitively.
Some of the descriptions in this book are rather disturbing but if you like historical fi
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Lissa
Emmett Conn is a man without a past, having suffered a traumatic brain injury during the first World War that left him with only a few scattered memories of the first eighteen years of his life. Mistaken for a British soldier, he was taken to England to recuperate, where he met Carol, an American nurse. He married, had two children, and lived a respectable life. Only after being diagnosed with a brain tumor does Emmett begin to have vivid dreams of a life that he has forgotten for decades, a lif ...more
Cindy
"I am an escapee, mental patient, dreamer, widower, father, grandfather, gendarme...stranger...murderer." At the end of your life, they say you see a movie of your life play out. In this instance, Emmet, Ahmet, is a 92 year old man who, due to his age or a tumor, has the memories of his life, during WWI, unlocked. Through dreams, he sees himself as a gendarme, leading a caravan of Armenians through the desert into Syria. He sees himself playing a role in the genocide, raping and killing. Accordi ...more
Marjie
This book was fascinating on many fronts: the Armenian genocide, about which I know almost nothing, the idea of memory and how fickle it can be, and the juxtaposition of an old life in Turkey with an immigrant's experience in America. The author evoked the main character's mental and physical states so well I almost felt I was experiencing them myself. Great book!
Lucy Pollard-Gott
Excellent novel, often painful to read because of the brutal, tragic nature of the forced march of Armenians expelled from Turkey in WWI. The author's note at the end tells about his own path to coming to terms with the genocide, and deciding to write the story from the point of view of a Turkish gendarme, haunted by dreams that were repressed memories.
Rosemary
Sep 14, 2011 Rosemary added it
Recommended to Rosemary by: Book club
Beautifully written! This is one of the books you are not sure whether you tell your friends it is a must read or a must not read. I is fiction based on horrible real past horror. There are many sentences of life you want to mark, but find there are too many to do that. i am glad i read it, but the scenes described will stay with me longer than i wish.
Eric
I read most of this book over the three day weekend that is about to end. The mood of the book matched the dark rainy weather we've been having. I enjoyed it very much. I have one complaint, though. Emmett's recovered memories seem a little too cohesive and linear. It seems unlikely that his dreams about the past would come in chronological order.
Tania
I was up until 4.00am finishing this book.. qualified somewhat by serious jet lag, but it is an incredible story... A 92 year old man develops a brain tumour that brings back suppressed memories about his past and his role in the WW1 Armenian genocide. 100pc recommend picking this up..
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I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, attended the University of Florida for undergrad and law school, lived in Jacksonville, Florida for a few years, then moved back to Tallahassee. In 2003, in a fit of insanity, I ran for the Tallahassee City Commission and was elected. I continue to practice law, listen to constituent complaints, and write a little bit every day.
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“Time stretches and calms, but still we reach, for we belonged then. We want to know. Sometimes that knowledge is painful, or inconvenient, or even damning. But it is essential. It exposes us for what we have been, and can be.” 7 likes
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