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Orhan's Inheritance

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,072 ratings  ·  1,099 reviews
In her extraordinary debut, Aline Ohanesian has created two remarkable characters—a young man ignorant of his family’s and his country’s past, and an old woman haunted by the toll the past has taken on her life.

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather Kemal—a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs—is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Algonquin Books
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  8,072 ratings  ·  1,099 reviews

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Angela M (On a little break)
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded to 4 stars

The first time I heard of the Armenian Genocide was when I read the Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian and at the time I wondered how I had come that far in life without having heard of it . Just recently in the news , I saw that there were commemoration of the one hundred anniversary of this horrific time in history and I thought it was about time that some public attention and remembrance was paid to the 1.5 million Armenians who were killed or sent to their death by be
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing

At the outbreak of WWI it was estimated that 1.7 million Armenians lived peacefully in Turkey but by the end of the war less than 300,000 remained. The Armenians living in Turkey were generally well educated and wealthier than their Turkish neighbours but worst of all they were Christian. When Turkey entered WWI in 1914 as an ally of Germany, they received Germany's support to round up the Armenians, strip them of their homes and belongings, kill the men and march the women and children to the S
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I learned of the Armenian Genocide through Chris Bohjallian’s novel, “The Sandcastle Girls”. For those who’ve read that awesome novel, you will really enjoy “Orhan’s Inheritance”. This historical fiction novel has an incredible story and is written well making it an unforgettable read. “Orhan’s Inheritance” is an intriguing story about family, and what one would do under unspeakable circumstances.

As the name implies, Orhan’s grandfather dies and leaves an unusual inheritance to Orhan (based on T
"THEY FOUND HIM inside one of seventeen cauldrons in the courtyard, steeping in an indigo dye two shades darker than the summer sky."

With one of the most startling opening lines I think I've ever read, this debut novel by Aline Ohanesian immediately captured my attention, and managed to maintain it through a story of the Armenian genocide, to the end.

In the present day, Orhan Türkoğlu, the young Turkish manager of his grandfather's successful kilim business, goes to the USA to find out why his g
Jun 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A Turkish grandfather has died, his financial dynasty and possessions due to be bequeathed to the small family impatiently awaiting them. Yet when his will is read, a name is unearthed that sets his inheritors reeling and launches his grandson on a journey half a world away, to a small assisted-living facility and the silent old woman who appears to possess the hidden truths of his ancestral line, truths that have tormented her throughout her lifetime.

When the past wells up inside her, Seda know
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something the world must remember... We will always reject any attempt to erase its record, even for some political advantage."

----Yossi Beilin, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister

According to Wiki,
The Armenian Genocide, carried out during and after World War I, was the Turkish Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian population which approximates to almost 1.5 million.

Aline Ohanesian, an Armenian author
Overbooked  ✎
A nice debut novel, based on the true stories of the author’s grandmother and the survivors of the deportation and ethnic purging of the Armenian minority occurred in 1915 under the Ottoman government.
It’s a sad story about a time period and place (Anatolia, a region of Turkey) which I wanted to know more about. This novel prompted me to research the Armenian genocide, which Turkish government refuses to acknowledge to this day. What happened to the Ottoman Armenians just over 100 years ago is a
Joshua Rigsby
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Ohanesian does a good job with this book. Her task is difficult: to dramatize and fictionalize the Armenian genocide in ways that are compelling without being exploitative or voyeuristic, as well as creating a narrative that is multidimensional and complex, that seeks to do more than simply present the accepted sequence of events as told by the Armenian diaspora.

Her Armenian characters argue and dither about the meaning of the genocide. Survivors question the health and utility of dwelling on t
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading about the Armenian Holocaust brings up in me much of what I know and have read about my people's Holocaust. The issues are generally similar - keeping the memory alive, survivors' guilt, repressing and not talking about the painful memories, and more. I think Ohanesian did a good job of relating the story of this horrid historical event to this generation, which may not have known anything about it. The writing is a little simplistic at times, and the structure of going back and forth in ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
The author is trying to accomplish several things at the same time, unfortunately the book ends up touching upon many interesting points only superficially, not developing any depth in the characters or in the relationships. There is the history, the way that history is perceived and interpreted today from different perspectives, then there is the relationship between the main characters, then there is the intergenerational aspects, there is even more. I would have divided the story into two boo ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, poc-author

Watch my full review:
Gerri Luke
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable book written by an author who has the qualities of Chris Bohjalian. It stretches our beliefs and forces us to see through the veils of our supposed humanity. Somehow we still do not understand that life offers enough to share with all others. Instead in the name of religion our greed leads men to wipe out other humans and steal what is only material. But what is stolen is humanity itself.
"My mother nursed me with mother's milk but also with sorrows. It flowed from her heart to her breast, into my insides where it probably still rests. She herself had ingested the same from her mother. They call it transgenerational grief now. We call it being Armenian."

Orhan Türkoglu discovers that his beloved grandfather has bequeathed the family home in Sivas, Turkey to an unknown woman in Los Angeles. He travels there to find her in a rest home for aged Armenians and gradually unravels pieces
Beautifully written and superbly edited this multi-layered tale alternates between Orhan's quest for truth in the 1990's with Kemel and the Meltonian family's tribulations during the Turkish purge of Armenians in 1915.

When Orhan's grandfather's will is read ripples of rage emanate from Orhan's father, Mustafa who is omitted from the will. Even though this is sensible, Mustafa will ruin the inheritance, is is against Sharia law to skip the son for the grandson.
Mustafa will contest the will and
“Orhan’s Inheritance” is an outstanding work of historical fiction focused on two time periods, the first being 1990 Los Angeles and the second being in 1915 Turkey at the height of the Armenian Genocide. Aline Ohanesian provides readers a beautifully crafted story that brings this little-known tragedy to life through a story based on the real-life experiences of her grandmother. Full review you can find on my blog: ...more
Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
A debut novel about the genocide in Armenia. The story starts in 1990 when Orhan Turkoglu's grandfather, Kemal, dies and leaves the house to a woman, Seda (which means echo) Melkonian, whom Orhan's father Mustafa has never heard of. Orhan goes to Los Angeles to seek Seda's agreement to bequeath her inheritance of the home to Orhan so he can continue to run the family rug business making kilims, small prayer rugs. The book vascilates between 1915 and 1990. Seda (Lucine) is an eighty-seven year ol ...more
RoseMary Achey
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Remember how you felt reading A Thousand Splendid Suns , Cutting for Stone or The Art of Hearing Heartbeats ? How these books introduced you so totally and completely to another land, history and customs? How you fell in love with the characters and could feel their longing, love and pain?

Orhan's Inheritance did the very same thing for me. When Orhan's grandfather's Last Will and Testament is read the family learns the ancestral home will be given to an unknown woman. Orhan travels from Tur
Marija *I'm nothing but a slave of my misery*
Wow, this was very aspiring. My sister bought it for me and at the beginning I was very sceptical because I don't like books about Turkey. I just don't find them interesting enough. But first of all, this isn't a book about Turkish people, but about Armenians' suffering and genocide. I never even knew there was a genocide toward Armenians. I guess that isn't a well known fact. Which is very sad. I think the world has to know about wrongs that it permitted. Which this book gives in a way. It was ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kemal, the owner of a successful Turkish factory making kilim rugs dies and leaves his grandson. Orhan, his business and to an Armenian woman, Seda, a house which formerly belonged to her family. They became part of the Death March to Syria in 1915. Of course Kemal's son Mustafa is angry that he has been passed over. Orhan travels to L.A. to talk to Seda, to find out Kemal's reasoning and to persuade the woman to sign the house over. The story jumps from present-day to the horrific events in 191 ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Aline Ohanesian’s novel ultimately is a meditation on the nature of restitution for human wrongdoings. What constitutes appropriate restitution: clear-eyed remembrance and preservation of the facts as they are known; acknowledgement by the perpetrators, including their decedents; acceptance and forgiveness by the injured; application of the most accurate names to events; the return of material things or their equivalents to the injured?

Orhan returns to his family’s village following the mysteri
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
So many war novels, in an effort to convey the massive scale of death and destruction in wartime, end up bogging themselves down with too many characters, too many storylines, too many tragic details. It’s unfortunate, because this oversaturation leads to the opposite effect the authors had in mind—a reader can’t feel the full impact of events, can’t empathize as deeply, because the barrage of pain is just too much. It washes over instead of sinking in.

The brilliance of Orhan’s Inheritance is in
Book Concierge

Orhan’s grandfather Kemal built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs. When he dies, his will bypasses his only son and Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But, Kemal leaves the family home to a woman no one has heard of – Seda Melkonian, an Armenian woman living in a Los Angeles retirement home. Orhan travels to California to meet with Seda and try to discover her connection to his family. Seda and Kemal’s story of young love across religious and cultural taboos unfolds against the bac
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I bought this book at a library book sale. I thought it sounded interesting and I liked the cover. It called to me.

This book is a debut novel. I liked the story very much and it was easy to read. It had a nice flow. It is a dual story line, with the main part of the book, set in 1915 Turkey and relates some of the horrors of the Armenian Christians' relocation and subsequent genocide, at the hands of the Turk government of the time. (It is not overly graphic, but there are some uncomfortable, br
Book Riot Community
Ohanesian’s novel audaciously and articulately examines the complexity of transgenerational grief still looming from the Armenian Genocide. However, what truly marks the author’s fearlessness is her ability to view history from multiple perspectives. Orhan’s Inheritance illuminates two sides of a horrific and tumultuous era, revealing a century’s worth of fallout with tact and sincere passion. This is an important book arriving at a pivotal point in Armenian history. – Aram Mrjoian

From The Best
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't know how this book ended up on my TBR years ago, but I'm so glad that it did.

When Orhan's dede (grandfather) dies, Orhan inherits the vast majority of the will except for one small odd piece. The house in Turkey where his father and aunt have always lived has been left to an unknown woman in a nursing home in Los Angles. Orhan is determined to find out the mystery behind this. While uncovering this woman's link to his family he also learns about his countries sordid past involving an Ar
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this book when searching for a novel on the Armenian genocide.

Beautifully written, Aline Ohanesian’s debut novel draws in readers from the first sentence. Upon news of the death of his grandfather, Orhan returns to the small Turkish town where he grew up to attend the service and reading of the will. To his delight (and his father’s indignation), Orhan’s grandfather, Kemal, declared, in violation of Turkish inheritance laws, that the family business will skip a generation and go to Orha
Moving between modern-day Turkey and early 20th century, Orhan’s Inheritance is a story of how the past influences the present and future; it’s about “how we choose to listen and which words we choose to speak…” Orhan Turkoglu’s grandfather has just died and he’s headed home – to the village of Karod, on the outskirts of the city of Sivas in Turkey. Fielding a range of emotions, Orhan is about to experience even further turmoil – through his will, his grandfather Kemal has created a family storm ...more
A story of a time in history I knew nothing about, the Armenian genocide in Turkey in the early 1900s. Upon the death of Orhan's beloved grandfather, Kemal. He finds his grandfather has left their family home to a stranger, Sade, living in California. When Orhan journeys to California to regain their ancestral home, what he discovers is a family history filled with deceit, horror and resilience. What is Sade's story? How is she connected to Orhan's grandfather?
This novel brings out the question
Gerry Durisin
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story of WWI-era Turkey, and the tragedy of the Armenian genocide. Wonderfully-drawn characters and a compelling plot held my interest throughout. I first listened to the audiobook, and thought it wonderful. But there was a detail I wanted to check, so I borrowed the hardback book from the library and began to look for the detail that puzzled me. Quickly I was once again captivated, and re-read the book from beginning to end. I'm raising my rating from four to five stars for a truly e ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads, netgalley
* I received this as a free eBook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Orhan’s grandfather Kemal built the family business, making kilim rugs, out of the dust remaining after WWI. By 1990 he has become quite eccentric often immersing himself in a brass cauldron of dye. No one knows why, but one day he is discovered dead in one the cauldrons, his body from the neck down stained deep blue. Orhan idolized his grandfather because of his business acumen, respected him for his dedication
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Orhan's Inheritance is shortlisted for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was long listed for the Center For Fiction First Book Prize. Aline Ohanesian grew up in Northridge California and currently lives in San Juan Capistrano with her husband and two sons. Orhan's Inheritance is her first novel. ...more

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37 likes · 2 comments
“We are all sorry for something. It's what makes us human, says Seda. But sometimes empathy is not enough. Sometimes empathy needs to be followed by action.” 18 likes
“Silence is the enemy of justice.” 10 likes
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