Between the Two Rivers (Second Edition), Aida Kouyoumjian
Between the Two Rivers (302 pages) is the account of the real-life saga of Aida Kouyoumjian’s mother Mannig, who as a young girl was one of a small minority of Armenians who survived the massacre and deportation from the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I. Historians estimate that 1.5 to 2 million Armenians perished.
Watch the Book Trailer, created by Beth Sanders, of Athena Video Arts
“Aida Kouyoumjian’s rich memories of her mother will be a source of great fascination to anyone interested in the Armenian Genocide.”
—Dawn MacKeen, Award-Winning Freelance Journalist
“The book reads like a chapter from One Thousand and One nights. An absorbing account that confirms the adage, ‘Truth is stranger than fiction’ … The author’s visual descriptions touch the senses.”
—Mary Terzian, Author of The Immigrants’ Daughter
“Anyone who has traveled in the Middle East will recognize the authenticity of Aida Kouyoumjian’s voice. This story is told with the deep cultural understanding of one born, raised and educated within sight of the minarets of Baghdad. Aida’s writing launches the reader into the exotic land of pre-Saddam’s Iraq, overflowing with vibrant colors, sights, sounds—and dangers.”
—Joyce O’Keefe, Writer and former Foreign Service Officer
“It is the stuff of oral history,” Aida says. “My work is ‘creative nonfiction.’ Every scene in the book is a story she told us. Every single one has a line or paragraph that I remember word for word. At the beginning, she sing-songed the loss of her family members into lullabies at bedtime. As we grew up, she incorporated the details that haunted her throughout her life. I heard the stories so many times in so many different ways. All that remained was to make it flow—the smells, the sights, how it came about.”
The first edition of Between the Two Rivers won first place (Washington State) in the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) At-Large Communications Contest in the nonfiction: history category.
Orphaned by the Armenian Genocide in 1915, Mannig and her sister Adrine struggle to stay alive in what is now eastern Iraq. Mannig lives on the streets and trades camel dung for bread; her sister works as a servant for an Arab family. With the help of Barone Madiros, a wealthy philanthropist, Mannig and Adrine eventually find their way to an orphanage for surviving Armenian children. In this refuge, after years of hardship, the two sisters find compassion, joy, safety … and love. Told by Mannig’s daughter, Between the Two Rivers is a candid and moving account of a mother’s triumph over adversity. This revised second edition includes a map and photographs.
Aida Kouyoumjian was born in Felloujah and raised and educated in Baghdad, Iraq. In 1952 she came to Seattle to attend the University of Washington on a Fulbright Scholarship. Aida married an American and eventually settled in Mercer Island.
After her father died in 1965, Aida was finally able to bring her mother Mannig to this country. At the age of 69 Mannig was hired by the UW to tutor graduate students in Turkish, Armenian, and Arabic. She retired after seven years, dying at the age of 79. Just before her death in 1985, Mannig was one of 90 survivors who attended the 70th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Washington, D.C.
The second edition of Between the Two Rivers is available in Kindle ($6.95) and print editions on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, and Amazon Japan. Other electronic versions can be purchased on Smashwords ($6.95). Bookstores can order wholesale through Ingram or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aida Kouyoumjian is available to speak at civic and community organizations’ meetings.
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