Mark Mustian, author of the critically acclaimed novel, “The Gendarme,” presented his book on Wednesday evening, October 12, at the Diocesan Center in Manhattan.
The event, hosted by the Armenian Network of America (Greater New York Region), Armenian Students Association and the Zohrab Center, started with an introduction by Talene Kachadourian, President of the Armenian Network of America. She spoke of Mustian’s background as a lawyer and as City Commissioner in Tallahassee, Fla., where he currently lives with his wife and three children.
Published last year, “The Gendarme” quickly created a buzz and was the winner of the 2010 Florida Gold Book Award for General Fiction. It is a finalist for the 2011 Dayton International Literary Peace Prize. The book has been translated into eight foreign editions in Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Israel, and Spain, among others.
Mustian’s novel follows the story of a Turkish gendarme officer who once lead the Armenians on the death marches of 1915. Following an injury at Gallipoli, he was sent to an Allied Hospital where he met and married an American nurse, and eventually settled in the United States–having lost all recollection of the Armenian Genocide. Almost a century later, the officer, now 92, suffers a brain tumor and begins to recall the story of his youth, and to seek redemption before it is too late.
Following Kachadourian’s introduction, Mustian discussed his book, which touches on many themes within the larger context of the Armenian Genocide, including the role of memory, politics, religion, and human relationships.
Mustian also talked about the process of having the book published, which required a lot of perseverance and determination on his part. Seven years after perfecting his manuscript, the reputable Putnam imprint published the book to positive reviews, including in the Sunday Book Review of the New York Times which wrote that Mustian, “tells a story that probes a timeless array of life’s general adversities,” and noted that “Mustian refuses to flinch when describing the grim realities that resurface in Conn’s [the protagonist’s] thoughts of the past.”
Following his presentation, Mustian answered questions from the audience and signed copies of his books. A reception followed where
guests had the opportunity to speak with Mustian further. For more information about “The Gendarme” and its author, please visit www.markmustian.com.