Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review: The Gendarme

Author: Mark Mustian
Genre: Fiction (2010)

About: A 92-year-old Turkish man, now living in America, is diagnosed with a brain tumor.  He has vivid dreams about his time as a gendarme during the Armenian war when he escorted Armenian refugees to Syria in a death march. He falls in love with Araxie, a young Armenian girl, loses touch with her, and years later desperately tries to find her.

Gendarme (pronounced /dʒɛnˈdɑrm/ or /ˈʒɑːndɑrm/)
 Gendarme (historical), French medieval or early modern cavalryman

  • I found the writing to be choppy and stiff, and the tone, monotonous. I thought I'd adjust as I read further but that didn't happen. Until the last chapter. Which I enjoyed because the author finally gave the characters, Emmett Conn and his long lost love, Araxie, more emotional depth. Why did he wait so long to do that? To make for a climactic ending? 
  • The majority of the book was dull, probably because I didn't feel a connection to the main character and didn't really care what happened to him.
  • The alternating tense between his dream state and the present wasn't always clear. I wish these would have been chapter by chapter or at least more fluidly written. 
  • Emmett Conn's daughter Violet was mean and rude, especially the way she made decisions for her father - where he was going to live, who would "monitor" him.  I didn't like her.
  • Just as I was finally enjoying the last chapter, the only one I liked, it was over just like that...with a vague and boring ending.
Source: Library

Why I Chose: The cover is beautiful and I had seen it on a few blogs so I was curious.

Recommend? I don't want to say no, because a lot of people liked this book. I'd actually like you to read it if you've had it on your radar at all, and then let me know your thoughts. It's one of those you either love or feel indifferent towards.

Rating: 2.5 / 5  (Normally I wouldn't finish a book I rate this low. But I did because I wanted to be able to review it.)


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