Mark T. Mustian on Researching His Historical Novel The Gendarme


As we noted on Monday, Mark T. Mustian's The Gendarme tackles those most difficult of subjects for fiction: genocide, war, cruelty, and love. Narrated by the 92-year-old Emmett Conn, a Turkish immigrant to the United States, the novel follows Conn from the present into the past and a welter of ever-clearer memories of the protagonist's role in the Armenian genocide in 1915. Mustian gradually gives readers the often surprising details of Conn's entire life, from soldier in the Ottoman army through to living in the U.S., while keeping the focus on Araxie and Conn's relationship with her. 

The novel comes with glowing blurbs from the likes of Robert Olen Butler, Bob Shacochis, Sandra Dallis, and Atom Egoyan, and already has been picked up for reprint in several countries, including Greece, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Israel, and France.

In a starred review, Library Journal wrote, "First novelist Mustian writes relentlessly, telling his haunting story in brief bursts of luminous yet entirely unsentimental prose and reminding us that, when life gets bloody, we had better watch out for our own humanity."

We'll hear from Mustian again--about his omnivoracious reading habits and his own "corollary to the Franzen/Piccoult-Weiner dustup," but for now here's more on the background of his novel...

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