ACOM Book Club News for February

The ACOM Book Club met on February 16th in the St. Sahag Armenian Church fireside lounge. In attendance were Tom, Azad, Peter, Al, Natasha and me. A bright, cheery fire contributed to a welcoming environment. Of course, the dates, nuts and Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet helped a bit, too.
Our book for this month was Kurt Vonnegut's "Bluebeard". This book has been in print long enough that members had multiple, different editions, so page number references didn't quite match up, but we survived nicely.
To get the reviews out of the way quickly, everyone seems to have enjoyed the book very much. They liked Vonnegut's writing style and the story. Even though some of the members had apparently not liked previous Vonnegut books (such as "Slaughterhouse Five"), they did like this one. Vonnegut likes to carry some characters through from some books into other ones, and a couple club members mentioned Rabo Karabekian as having appeared at the end of "Breakfast of Champions". Sigh, now I have to read another book.

One question that we all had was - "How did Vonnegut know so much about Armenians"? None of us have found any mention of Armenians in his family tree, Armenian neighbors or living in an Armenian area. If any of the readers of this report have any input on this, let us all know.
People commented on the Mussolini connection. We discussed Dan Gregory/Gregorian, the "other Armenian" in the book. Was he supposed to represent a "real" person that Vonnegut knew?
Reference was made as to how the pirate "Bluebeard" had killed all of his "multiple" wives in order to support his "true" original wife. Did this match up with Karabekian "killing" all of his paintings but keeping his one masterpiece hidden?
His masterpiece? A painting 64 feet long by 8 feet high containing five thousand two hundred and nineteen people at sunrise on the day that World War II ended. I wish that I could see it.
Mixed in with discussions of the book, members made references to their grandmothers from Constantinople teasing their husbands from rural Anatolia speaking "country Armenian". A question came up as to whether Armenian fled into Persia during World War I (yes, they did). The idea of survivor's guilt came up with respect to Karebekian, Armenians in general who survived the genocide and people who survive other situations in life.
We could not decide on a book for next month. Azad strongly recommended "Bedros" by Irene Vosbikian. It sounds interesting.
I hope to see you at next month's meeting on March 16th.

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