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The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

Updated on October 8, 2014

The Armenian Genocide of 1915 Revealed

Before reading The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian, I knew nothing about the Armenian genocide of 1915. In fact, I had never even heard of it. This novel is based on historical facts, but it is fiction.

Chris Bohjalian is Armenian on his father's side. He states that he had heard about the killings of Armenian men then the death marches of women and children in the Syrian desert during World War I.

More than one million Armenians died, but until he researched it for his novel, he wasn't fully aware of the horrors.

Photo of The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel courtesy of Amazon. Click the link to check out this book.

The Armenian Genocide

"The killings are referred to as

the Armenian Holocaust,

the Armenian Massacres,

and, traditionally amongst Armenians,

as Meds Yeghern, which

is usually translated as

the Great Calamity or Great Crime."

~ Armenian Genocide on Wikipedia

Armenian March, April 1915

Armenian March, April 1915
Armenian March, April 1915

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian - Historical Facts Woven with Fictional Characters Make a Compelling Story

In his novel, Chris Bohjalian tells two stories: one of Elizabeth Endicott set during 1915 in Aleppo, Syria and one of Laura Petrosian in present day New York.

Their tales intertwine when Laura begins researching her family's past when she sees a photograph from the Armenian genocide of a woman with her own last name.

"In any case, the short answer to

that first question--How do a

million and a half people die

with nobody knowing?--is really

very simple. You kill them in

the middle of nowhere."

~ from The Sandcastle Girls

by Chris Bohjalian

General Map of Aleppo, Syria - Armenia is to the northeast; use the "minus" button to zoom out to see the region.

Aleppo, Syria

get directions

In The Sandcastle Girls,

the author lets us know that names

ending in "ian" are Armenian.

Famous Armenians?

Cher, born Cheryl Sarkisian

the Kardashians

Janet Shamlian, NBC correspondent

plus many more

~ Source: Lists of Armenians

They Shall Not Perish--American Committee for Relief in the Near East

They Shall Not Perish--American Committee for Relief in the Near East
They Shall Not Perish--American Committee for Relief in the Near East

Read More of Chris Bohjalian's Books - He is a master storyteller.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure

Peggy Hazelwood is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Had You Heard of the Armenian Genocide?

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    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @LiteraryMind: Oh wow, I'm sorry. Then you knew about this horrific holocaust.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Yes. My other half is Armenian. His mother and father escaped, but the rest of his ancestors were killed.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Strangely I had not-but possibly there are so many bad things we are not aware of in history!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      There is so much I do not know. I had no knowledge of this holocaust. How can that be? Thank you for bringing this to light. Sounds like a very compelling read. Appreciated!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on reading about the the Armenian genocide of 1915. I had not heard of it before either.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      No, I had not. Your review sparked my interest in the book - I like historical fiction. Pinned and Blessed.

    • kislanyk profile image


      6 years ago from Cyprus

      I haven't read this book yet, but from the review, it sounds really interesting (albeit with a somber theme)

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      No, I had never heard of it before I am ashamed to say. How do genocides get buried?


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