Review: The Gendarme

Why I picked it: Doesn't the book cover pull you in?  It's a stunning photo that made me pick up the book and read the synopsis.  I read over half of this book in commute to/from the city, I was so interested in Axarie's story and what was going to happen to her.

Synopsis: Emmett Conn is an old man, near the end of his life. A World War I veteran, he's been affected by memory loss since being injured during the war. To those around him, he's simply a confused man, fading in and out of senility. But what they don't know is that Emmett has been beset by memories, of events he and others have denied or purposely forgotten. 

In Emmett's dreams he's a gendarme, escorting Armenians from Turkey. A young woman among them, Araxie, captivates and enthralls him. But then the trek ends, the war separates them. He is injured. Seven decades later, as his grasp on the boundaries between past and present begins to break down, Emmett sets out on a final journey, to find Araxie and beg her forgiveness.

Mark Mustian has written a remarkable novel about the power of memory-and the ability of people, individually and collectively, to forget. Depicting how love can transcend nationalities, politics, and religion, how racism creates divisions where none truly exist, and how the human spirit fights to survive even in the face of hopelessness.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: Emmett is an old man, 92 when the novel begins.  He has a brain tumor.  His daughter and the doctor want to treat the tumor, stating the success rate is very good.  This is when Emmett starts dreaming.  Is he dreaming or awakening old memories that will haunt him? 

Emmett's tumor/treatment brings him on a journey, physically and emotionally.  He is hospitalized for treatment, has seizures, and to avoid spoilers I will say several odd things happen to keep the story moving forward.  When he is dreaming we learn about a piece of history seldom talked about and discover what happened to Axarie.

There was a lot that I didn't like in the book but I learned a lot about while reading this book.  My struggles were with the daughters and the desicions they made for Emmett (I also didn't like the ending). 

Rating: 3/5 stars

Source: Review Copy
Challenge: Historical Fiction Challenge
Country: Turkey/America

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