Growing up in the small town of Maden in Turkey, Fethiye Çetin knew her grandmother as a happy and respected Muslim housewife called Seher.
Only decades later did she discover the truth. Her grandmother’s name was not Seher but Heranus. She was born a Christian Armenian. Most of the men in her village had been slaughtered in 1915. A Turkish gendarme had stolen her from her mother and adopted her. Çetin’s family history tied her directly to the terrible origins of modern Turkey and the organized denial of its Ottoman past as the shared home of many faiths and ways of life.
A deeply affecting memoir, My Grandmother is also a step towards another kind of Turkey, one that is finally at peace with its past.
“Gripping and thought-provoking ... Spare and elegant ... This moving testimony transcend politics and brings the Armenian tragedy to life with tenderness as well as sadness.”
“A striking memoir.”
“A compelling and beautifully written account of family stories and secrets, and a heartfelt call to peace and harmony.”
“My Grandmother ... refuses to be sidetracked by the issues it raises: it is a tribute to the woman, an expression of shared pain, and a plea for reconciliation. That it was a bestseller in Turkey should tell you something.”
“Sober and heartbreaking.”
“The author’s acute sensibility and ear for detail set this account apart ... two brave voices ring through this book: hers and her grandmother’s.”
“This is a story that cries out to be told.”