Sifting through a box of books recently donated to the Zohrab Center, I came across a copy of the “New Yorker” dated February 3, 1975. At first, it seemed puzzling as to why this issue would have been placed among books pertaining to Armenian history and literature. Flipping through the magazine — its pages by now yellowed, its retro ads enticing readers to get away to Bermuda or buy gowns at Saks Fifth Avenue — I was surprised to find “A Passage to Ararat,” the first installment of a three-part memoir by Michael J. Arlen.
The son of Dikran Kouyoumdjian, a prominent writer who took the pen name Michael Arlen, the younger Arlen was a respected “New Yorker” TV critic when he embarked on a trip to his ancestral lands to learn more about his Armenian heritage and his own unanswered questions of the Genocide. Following its debut in the “New Yorker,” the memoir was published as a book and went on to receive high accolades, including the 1976 National Book Award.
Click here to view an excerpt from the 1975 article.