The Zohrab center invites you to a book presentation and reading from Christopher Atamian’s newly-released translation of the novel Trashland by Denis Donikian in Guild Hall at the Diocesan Center on Thursday, September 21st at 7:00pm. (This event is rescheduled from July).
Trashland starts off with its hero Gam—which in Armenian means both “I exist” and “or else”—a clever play on words, standing atop a hill as he relieves himself on the Armenian capital of Yerevan below. Once a muckraking journalist nicknamed “The Hedgehog,” Gam fled a life-shattering earthquake in his home city of Gyumri into a life of subsistence, living in a small hut near the garbage dump. Trashland offers an insider’s view of an often-insular society. As a diasporan Armenian, the author Denis Donikian writes from a privileged vantage point. Playing devil’s advocate, he has superseded the expectations assigned to diasporans as cash cows to be bilked for imaginary projects or retirees who come to spend their hard-earned money in their golden years. To cross this line, one must love one’s people and community. To lay bare its deepest wounds and expose its most deep-seated corruption—those are the signs of a true patriot and humanist. Few novels deliver quite such acerbic, and at times lively societal criticism. Trashland serves as a dirge to a country abandoned to its worst tendencies.
Christopher Atamian is a writer, translator, filmmaker, curator, and critic who has written for leading publications, including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Brooklyn Rail, and Hyperallergic. He is the former Dance critic for The New York Press and Co-Editor and Publisher of KGB Magazine. He has curated both art and film, including 12 exhibitions for the non-profit Nor Alik, which he also founded. He co-created Atamian Hovsepian Curatorial Practice (AHCP) with a focus on experimental and conceptual art by underrepresented voices. He has published six books, and edited art catalogues and books. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Business School, he has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship at the ETH Zürich, a Bronfman Scholarship in Democratic Enterprise, two Tölölyan Literary Prizes and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He has been nominated for a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.