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Orhan's Inheritance

By: Aline Ohanesian
Narrated by: Assaf Cohen
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Summary

When Orhan's brilliant and eccentric grandfather - a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs - is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather's will raises more questions than answers.

Kemal has left the family estate to a stranger, thousands of miles away, an aging woman in an Armenian retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan's grandfather would have willed their home in Turkey to an unknown woman rather than to his own son or grandson.

Left with only Kemal's ancient sketchbook and intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There, over many meetings, he will not only unearth the story that 87-year-old Seda so closely guards, but discover that Seda's past now threatens to unravel his future. It's a story that, if told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which his family is built.

Moving back and forth in time, between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, Orhan's Inheritance is a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and the hidden stories that haunt a family.

©2015 Aline Ohanesian (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Thena
  • 14-05-15

Lovely and sad

Any additional comments?

This story was so lovely and sad. For me it underlined how cruel humans can be to their neighbors and how damaging ignoring history is to a people. I'm of African-American descent and we struggle with many of the same types of issues the characters in this novel face. Our history, too, remains rewritten, ignoring or whitewashing the horrors our ancestors faced. The relationships between the characters in this novel also mirror the complicated relationships between African-Americans and other Americans. The issue of reparations remains an issue in both contexts.And the blatant disregard for the impact to the communities in the modern era is also common in both situations.

I closed this book with a sense of the universality of the character's experiences. No people is without horrors and tragedies in their collective history. The world is full of bleak, miserable, human on human inhumanity. But there is hope. There is catharsis in telling our stories. There is the potential for understanding and forgiveness in hearing each other. The main character, Orhan, represents everyone's potential experience. At first he isn't interested in hearing the stories of the past. He is forced to endure these lessons through the craftiness of his deceased beloved grandfather. In the end he comes to understand that his own, personal reality is intimately intertwined with that past he wanted to ignore. Freedom from his own demons depends on his opening to those things he feared to understand.

There is much to love and learn from this book. While it is heartwrenchingly sad in parts, it is beautifully told and well worth experiencing the tragedies to get to the other side of a new perspective.

53 people found this helpful

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  • alison
  • 05-05-15

Beautiful and Haunting

Beautifully written story crossing decades of history and heartbreak. It begins with a curious twist in Orhan's grandfathers will which sends him on a journey revealing not only a family's history but an understanding of why we should not always try to forget the past.
I have to admit to not knowing much about the Armenian involvement in the war and the atrocities they suffered. After listening to this book I can understand why so many people suffer mental trauma throughout their lives as a legacy of war - how could anyone possibly forget such horrors.
Assaf Cohen's excellent narration only adds to the enjoyment of this book.
This is a beautiful, haunting book that will stay with you long after you have finished it.

28 people found this helpful

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  • Benjamin McIntyre-Coble
  • 23-06-15

Short and powerful

This is a quick read, but packs a big message. It's multi generational, spanning the Armenian genocide to the early 1990s. It conveys a lot of themes-war, love, fathers/sons, family, and the notion of the oft mentioned 'past'. While it sometimes gets a little preachy and self righteous, it's an important book that captures a period of history that is often forgotten as part of the larger narrative of World War One. The narration was pretty good, but the cheesy Turkish accents were laughable.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Cynthia Johnson
  • 04-06-15

Interesting history.

I didn't know much of this history. Terrible things happen in war. Terrible mindsets. While this story helps to tell a sad part of Armenian history, it also tells of how good people survive and love in terrible times and go on with their lives afterwards. I enjoyed the book. It was a good purchase.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Boumbulian
  • 18-06-15

Armenian genocide

A genocide of life. It hurts now as it did then. And all who touched it. Never to be forgotten that there are good and bad in all people.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Lia
  • 31-12-15

3.5 Stars The Ending Was Deflating!!

Ohanesian does a good job of making the plight of the Armenians exiled from Turkey come to life. I liked the book and particularly the characters of Orhan and Kemal. The book is well-written, but the author is trying to do so much that inevitably some things fall through the cracks. The ending seemed rushed and became a philosophical debate between Orhan and Anni. When the plot twists are revealed, I felt we needed to see the events leading Seda to leave Turkey, i.e. where did the love for her husband go; how did she and her brother arrive here. On the other hand, the author made clear the necessity of an admission from Turkey of the guilt they bear for the exile and death of the Christian Armenians. The psychology that requires that admission was finally clear to me. Another example of evil done in the name of God, as if we needed any more.

Assaf Cohen was good with the delivery of the story

8 people found this helpful

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  • Debbie
  • 29-10-15

"Cleansing" of Armenia, End of the Ottoman Empire

Orhan's Inheritance isn't the first book I've listened to about the genocide which occurred in Armenia around 1914-1915, but it is different because it gives a glimpse into what life was like before the Turks and Armenians became enemies. Two childhood friends, who see their roles reversed, when the war begins, are the center of a story that spans decades . . . I am still baffled and saddened that, for the most part, the world, and the US has not properly acknowledged the sins waged against the Armenian people by Turkey . . . a deliberate attempt to wipe out all Christians . . . by a Muslim nation, now 100 years ago . . . Orhan's Inheritance is a brave and courageous story . . . of love and individualism in a place where you might not expect it . . . don't miss it . . .

5 people found this helpful

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  • mary
  • 12-06-16

Awful narrator, better than average historical novel.

I rarely dislike a narrator on audible; I am a flexible listener and appreciate a variety of interpretations. However this narrator sounded like a teenage boy reading out loud in English class. He interpreted every sentence the same way, whether it was a description of the landscape, a character's words, or a philosophical statement. It was ludicrous, especially when it came to the more poetic passages in the book. I almost didn't finish the book, but I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed the book overall. But really, this was a terrible choice for a narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Raffy Afarian
  • 10-11-15

Well written with historic accuracy

This was a very well written book addressing the Armenian genocide with a love story woven into it. The author carefully constructed the story to not offend the reader and logically laid out the story to make it believable. From what I know, the story is historically accurate and the controversial issues are interwoven into the love story. Whether true or fictional, it is a beautiful story of people being people but getting caught up in governmental brutalities. Enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone.

2 people found this helpful

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  • M. Ryder
  • 21-10-15

Surprisingly Good

Purchased this book as the daily deal, and very happy I did because story was really interesting! Learned a lot about the Armenian genocide; a period of time I knew nothing of, nor that Turkey was also involved. Persons who enjoy historical fiction should definitely try listening. The narrator did a pretty nice job of presenting the story as well. Worth checking out.

2 people found this helpful