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Three Apples Fell From Heaven
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Three Apples Fell From Heaven

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  221 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Here is a novel of import and style, set in 1915-1917, the years of the Ottoman Turkish government’s brutal campaign that resulted in the deaths of more than a million Armenians. Through a series of chapters that have the weight and economy of poetry, Micheline Aharonian Marcom introduces us to the stories of Anaguil, an Armenian girl taken in by Turkish neighbors after th
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 2nd 2002 by Riverhead Books (first published February 5th 2001)
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And three apples fell from heaven: one for the storyteller, one for the listener, and one for the eavesdropper.
To write the history of those who have been lost, whose culture has been erased, and who are often, to this day, greeted by an emphatic rejection that such an erasure ever took place: this requires an immense skill, an ability to toe the fence deftly on the side of factual evidence in favor of more traditional, oral source material. But it also requires the ability to keep both the vict
The maggots lifted their heads for the sermon.
Մեծ Եղեռն
This is the world they lied about.
Civilization. Think about it.
'the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced'
Social development: knowing the Self from the Other. Organization: connecting the Self to the Other, or the Self to the Self, or the Other to the Other, or the Self around the Other. Advanced: has history produced an advancement that was not built upon rape and slavery? Any rape an
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was really hard to read, for a lot of reasons. It is about the Armenian genocide, and there are a lot of parts that are really graphic and I had to put down the book sometimes because I just couldn't handle it. There are a lot of bitter truths that come out in the book.

The style in which the book is written also made it difficult to read, but it is also the reason I loved it. Every chapter is told from a different perspective, and sometimes it takes a while to figure out whose perspec
Jan 31, 2008 rated it liked it
a powerful and stomach-churning telling of the armenian genocide. not easy bedtime reading, but marcom is an excellent writer.
Leslie Womack
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My friend, an Armenian, asked me if I had read The Rape of Nanking before letting me borrow this book. While Three Apples Fell from Heaven is a work of fiction based on the historically documented genocide of Armenians, and Rape of Nanking is strictly non-fiction, the question was considerate. Considerate, because if a reader was able to manage the contents of Rape to the end, a telling of the hundreds of thousands of horrible, torturous murders committed by Japanese in a few short months while ...more
Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Having just finished Exodus, I thought my stomach was pretty steeled against further nausea brought on by the injustices of the world. Why I chose next to read a book about the Armenian Holocaust of the early 1900s I can not say. This first novel based on the experiences of the author's maternal grandmother is a beautifully written horrific story of the first modern genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The various characters each experience different lives in the roughly the same environment, and the ...more
Alyssa Long
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Now that I'm finished, I'm not sure what I know. The story was too fragmented for me, but maybe it's symbolic of the lack of a clear historical narrative surrounding this event. I get a sense for what happened, but the holes prevent me from feeling and understanding the extent to which the violence and confusion happened. I didn't get to connect to any characters because they were just brushstrokes. Interesting style, but difficult for me to read and connect with.
Nov 02, 2007 rated it liked it
I have rarely read anything that I found as difficult or upsetting as this book. With that said, it's magnificently written. Marcom deals with the Ottoman genocide of the Armenians with descriptions of almost unspeakable atrocity, madness and despair that read like poetry. Her imagry still resides in my mind, despite the fact that I finished, and then promptly abondoned, the book in a German hotel room nearly 8 years ago. Read it, then burn it.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I’m sure all readers will remain haunted, touched, and changed by these short stories about evils committed by The Ottoman Empire against Armenians during and after World War I. I think anyone with a soul or shred of empathy will feel a deep sense of sadness having read about the Armenian holocaust. There is no greater evil than genocide and I feel compelled to give this book the respect of the highest of ratings just because of the topic. I’m sure I’m not alone.
However, I rate “Three Apples Fel
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is both captivating and alluring as well as strangely seductive in the darkest way you can imagine. The prose is elegant and conjures a world of honey and spices. But, just as you're caught up in the language and imagery, along comes the description of something horrific and unthinkable.
Most, but not all of the story is how an Armenian girl who has been raised by Turks sees the world. The time is 1915-1917. This is the story, told from differing voices of the Armenian Genocide at the
Dec 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This book garnered rave reviews, and so I expected something more, or at least different, from what I encountered. True, Marcom can write some lovely prose, but I wonder if the self-conscious prettiness of it really enhances a novel about the Armenian genocide. That and the tinge of magical realism, coupled with the short chapters that shift quickly between characters, seemed to me to take the edge of this massive, incomprehensible tragedy. Then there's Marcom's obsession with the scatological. ...more
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Although I found the prose and the imagery to be amazing, this is not an easy book to read and I would not recommend it to everyone. The subject matter, of the genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, is horrific and here it is given a sparse emotional telling that almost made it more difficult to read about. Additionally, the author has a huge cast of characters and many sequences that are dream-like and keeping track of all of that would take some concentration. Or y ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Historical Fiction. 1915-1917 when the Ottoman Turkish Empire caused the deaths of over one million Armenians. Tough book to read, tough book to rate. The writing deserves four stars....but, much was difficult for me to understand. It was a depressing read about this time in history. It was written through the eyes of the peasant townspeople. Very sad. Why does this happen? Is the same thing happening in Syria, today? Does the rest of the world watch and make daily updates on 6pm news? In the ca ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I do want to say something about this book. I think its beautifully written and covers an important subject area. But it was so difficult to read because it is just so sad and depressing. It was the only reason why I did not give it more stars. There were times when I just could not go on and then felt guilty that I wasn't continuing to read it because it is such an important book. We live in a society where we are encouraged, coerced, and downright manipulated into thinking about the up-side of ...more
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Most of what I would say would duplicate Katie's review of this book. The only thing I'd like to add is that this author's writing style has put her on my short list of poetic authors (Toni Morrison, Robert Antoni, Jonathan Safran Foer). Reading books by these authors, I feel like the actual characters and plot take a back seat to the structure of the chapters, the narrative style, and the language. They are definitely more work to read, but absolutely worth it.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: students of the Armenian Genocide-- who have strong stomachs
Well, actually I don't know that "really liked it" is the right description-- but it's so powerful I have to give it 4 stars. This book made me cry. It was graphic, it was powerful, it was something that I will probably not do again. But it is something I recommend to anyone who really wants to know what the experience of the Armenian Genocide was about. Not for the faint of heart (or stomach.)
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story was told beautifully and it honestly made me tear up a lot. The book is fiction, the characters are fictitious, but they feel so real. The story is set during the Armenian Genocide, and I find it hard to find books on such a horrible period in time, but this book, though fictitious, is a great read on the Armenian Genocide
Matthew Metzdorf
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fabulous book. Difficult to follow at times, as the narrator shifts from chapter to chapter, often very subtly so that it's hard to tell who is who if you aren't paying attention. A searing story of the Armenian genocide, which I admittedly know little about but which is brought to life in all its terrible detail here. Definitely worth the read.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it liked it
I found it hard to read/follow but a good book. It would have been nice if the glossary translating Armenian and Turkish words was up front so I would have found it before I was nearly done with the book. A very sad subject to read about.
Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm torn on the rating for this one. On one hand, it is horrific and nauseatingly raw in its graphic description of the horrors of the Armenian genocide. However, it is also breathtakingly beautiful and it's beauty gives a depth to the real horrors that happen in this world. I Painfully loved it.
Ayelet Waldman
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The story of what the Turks did to the Armenians is truly horrifying - it's almost trite and ridiculous even to say that about the brutal massacre of a million people.
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
While beautifully written, this is one of the most harrowing books I have ever read.
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
an obsession of mine: genocide themed.
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
maybe 2.5
Dec 30, 2011 added it
Just as I expected the book.War,Turkey and the relationship between two countries in the early 1990s.Suggest reading
Mirna Ayoubi
A good historical read however not all the stories tied in together.
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Graphic and confusing, but above all poetic. This is a book that makes the reader feel the genocide, rather than understand a chronology of events or series of stories.
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read about the Armenian genocide and probably Marcum's most accessible book. Lyrical and searing prose.
Will post review at some point.
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Micheline Aharonian Marcom was born in 1968 in Saudi Arabia to American parents. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA. She currently lives in northern California and teaches creative writing at Mills College.
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