Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Aline Ohanesian

Aline Ohanesian was born in Kuwait and immigrated to So. Cal at the age of three. After getting her MA in History, she abandoned her PhD studies when she realized her heart belonged to the novel. Her writing was a finalist for the PEN Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction and the Glimmer Train Best New Writers Award.

Ohanesian's new novel is Orhan's Inheritance.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I hadn't read it since middle school, so when the controversy broke out about Harper Lee's second novel, I wanted to revisit her first book with fresh eyes. I have to say that the book deserves every accolade it has ever received. It's truly a timeless masterpiece. I love a novel that can make me care deeply about a set of characters, teach me about the political and social issues of a particular historical period, and keep me guessing and interested the entire time. Some award winning books make you scratch your head at all the praise they receive, but this isn't one of them. Oddly enough, I had just finished American Pastoral by Philip Roth. It won a Pulitzer and though it was smart, I didn't enjoy reading it. I didn't care all that much about "The Swede." The narration and over analysis got in the way of the story telling and the political allegory could be oppressive at times. The treatment of women in the book was just awful. They were all either cold, violent, mentally unstable, or over-intellectual. (Roth's estimation, not mine.) Reading these two novels one after the other created an interesting juxtaposition in my mind. Every novel is an exploration of the human spirit. I'd rather explore with Ms. Lee as my guide.
Visit Aline Ohanesian's website.

The Page 69 Test: Orhan's Inheritance.

--Marshal Zeringue