Orhan's Inheritance

Orhan's Inheritance - Aline Ohanesian * 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 to family but more importantly loved him deeply; unfortunately he never felt the same way about his father. After the funeral, when Kemal’s will is read Orhan is relieved that the business his grandfather worked so hard to build was willed to himself rather than, as tradition and Turkish law dictates, to his father. He had worked side by side with his grandfather while his father lived off the fruits of their labour. He knew his father would run the business into bankruptcy. His relief was short-lived when the family estate is bequeathed to someone of whom he’s never heard. What was his grandfather thinking? And more importantly who was this mystery woman?

Armed with legal papers, an offer of a settlement and firm determination Orhan travels to America to meet this woman, with the sole intention of retaining his family’s home. Before he arrives in Los Angeles Orhan comes to the decision that, yes, he wants her to sign the papers, but he also need to know why Kemal willed the estate to her in the first place. What connection could this 90-year-old woman living in a nursing home possibly have to his grandfather? When Orhan meets Seda he is very persistent and she reluctantly begins to tell him the story of her life that by default is also his grandfather’s life. A story that takes Orhan back to when she and Kemal were children, the years of WWI and the horrors they endured during what has come to be known as the “Armenian Genocide”. A story that cracks the very foundation of everything Orhan ever believed about his family.

This book is a touching, somewhat tragic, love story. This book is a story of survival and the strength of the human spirit. This book is a study of what happens when racial, religious and ethnic prejudices erupt and how it impacts on the “everyman” trying to simply live his life. This is the kind of book that stays with you after you close the back cover and I can’t help but make comparisons to “Kite Runner” and “The Almond Tree”, also outstanding debut efforts for their respective authors as this is for Ms. Ohanesian. This one will certainly not disappoint fans of those books.

I must admit that I was not aware of the “Armenian Genocide” issues that are so prevalent in the news these days. There is no such thing as coincidence so I assume the publication date of this book was well planned. “Orhan’s Inheritance” is beautifully written and tells an incredible story and if, like me, you don’t know much about that particular piece of world history it may give some perspective on current events.