Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe Praise ‘The Sandcastle Girls’

The Sandcastle Girls

WASHINGTON—Praise for New York Times best-selling author Chris Bohjalian’s latest epic, “The Sandcastle Girls,” continued, with The Washington Post and USA Today and Boston Globe publishing powerful reviews spotlighting the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial of this crime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

“Today’s reviews confirm the brilliance of Bohjalian’s masterful literary presentation of the Armenian Genocide, and underscore the vital role that he is playing in educating readers about this crime, highlighting the ongoing human costs of Turkey’s denials, and galvanizing a growing movement to end forever the cycle of genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “Bohjalian’s story truly speaks to our hearts and our hopes.  Let’s do all we can to make sure that its impact is felt as widely as possible – among citizens and Senators alike.”

Eugenia Zuckerman, in her review for The Washington Post, cites the very real impact that the Armenian Genocide, and Turkey’s denial, has on international relations today, and the role of books, like ‘The Sandcastle Girls’, in highlighting the truth about this crime. “In some circles, controversy over the nature of this crime still rages. Just this month, relations between France and Turkey were tested again by President Francois Hollande’s commitment to making it illegal to deny that the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was genocide,” noted Zuckerman.  “Bohjalian’s ‘The Sandcastle Girls’ may be a novel, but, based on his family history, it is a valuable and powerful piece of evidence pointing to the undeniable.”

The complete Washington Post review is available online at  and was published in the Tuesday, July 17th issue of the print edition.

Carol Memmott of USA Today wrote, “There is much heartbreak, devastation and evil in ‘The Sandcastle Girls,’ and it’s exacerbated by the denial by Turkey, even to this day, that the Armenians were the victims of genocide.  And Bohjalian makes a near-century-old event come to life in a way that will make readers gasp with shock that such a terrible event — Turkey’s determination to kill all the Armenians in their country – is such a small part of our knowledge of world history.”

The complete USA Today review is available online at and will be published in the Tuesday, July 17th issue of the print edition.

Reviewing the book for the Boston Globe, Julie Wittes Schlack writes, “Bohjalian succeeds in depicting the horror, without sentimentalizing it, using photographs as one of the book’s major plot devices.”

The complete Boston Globe Review review is available online at and was published in the Tuesday, July 17th issue of the print edition.

Last week, the July 23rd issue of People Magazine hit news-stands, spotlighting “The Sandcastle Girls” in its “Great Reads – New in Fiction” section and describing it as “an affecting tale set at the time of a lesser-known Holocaust, 1915’s Armenian Genocide.”

Entertainment Weekly (EW) included the novel on their summer must-read list. “Bohjalian (Midwives)—the grandson of Armenian survivors—pours passion, pride, and sadness into his tale of ethnic destruction and endurance,” noted EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum.

These follow powerhouse literary reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal and Booklist – collectively offering exceptional praise for both the author and the book. Read an exclusive excerpt.

On Monday, The Sandcastle Girls took center stage with a special Southern California kick-off luncheon with the author at the Universal Sheraton Hotel, hosted by the ANC-Grassroots Film and the Arts Committee, the Genocide Education Project, and Doubleday Books, followed by an evening presentation held at Woodbury University Fletcher Jones Auditorium.

Bohjalian will then be traveling to events in San Francisco, CA; Watertown, MA; Warwick, RI; New Milford, NJ and Washington, DC where his Capitol Hill debut is co-hosted by Congressional Armenian Genocide Resolution lead sponsors, Representatives Robert Dold (R-IL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA). Bohjalian will be meeting with Members of Congress throughout the day on August 1st and then offering remarks and signing books beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-369.

The complete roster of events across the country is available online.

In his 15th book, “The Sandcastle Girls,” Bohjalian brings us on a very different kind of journey.  The spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria in 1915 and Bronxville, New York in 2012 — a sweeping historical love story steeped in the author’s Armenian heritage, making it his most personal novel to date.  The novel is set to hit book stores on Tuesday, July 17th.

Armenian Americans and interested readers are encouraged to pre-order ‘The Sandcastle Girls’ online at discounted prices from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Indibound or from their local book sellers.

To join the ANCA in helping put “The Sandcastle Girls” on the Congressional summer reading list through a contribution to the ANCA Endowment donate-a-book program.


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One Comment;

  1. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    for Chris Bohjalian Novel ‘The Sandcastle Girls’
    (His surname Bohja or Bahja means happiness in many Eastern languages)

    We are proud of you Chris
    And we will always be…
    Because you’re a real author and a human
    Caring for Nation who lost every thing since centuries…!

    The cover of the book “the Sandcastle Girls”
    Is so…beautiful-soulful peace of painting but melancholic…
    When I look at it…I feel my self…
    As if…I’m there with my ancestors-beloveds…
    There in Der-Zor desert…in that flat-hot-dry arid land…
    Standing…on a hill…searching for drop of water…
    I feel my grandfathers’ skeletons under my feet
    Imagining smashed eyeballs still wet with tears…
    And I can view their genocided-bleeding hands…
    Still alive without any golden rings…
    Girls, brides, mothers lost loved once…their kin…their peers
    Pointing to the sun…to the blue April sky…of 1915-1923 and still…
    Calling Saints…Calling Jesus…Calling merciful God…
    Singing ‘Sharagans’ (hymns) of St. Komidas/Gomidas (1869-1935)
    “Oh my God” (Alah Akbar)…As Arabs Bedouins calls and called God
    When they saw the ‘ungodly atrocities’ of Ottomans)…
    But still…No one could hear…and care…!
    They continued what they did…with pride…
    That they knew how to kill and confiscate…!
    As an Arab Poet, Assad Rustom wrote…from Washington, USA
    When they hanged his literate friends in Lebanon…in May 6, 1916
    “ The sons of Turks you are never Muslims”

    Can Chris’s book, which carries the name of Christ, answer us why…
    Why they did it all shamelessly…and still they deny…?
    May be the recent discovery of Peter Higgs Boson (God Particle) of July 2012
    Will give us the answer one day…Why they butchered so artful race
    Those build, their schools…their palaces …their Minarets…
    Since the famous Armenian Architect called ‘Mimar’ Joseph Sinan (1489-1588)
    And the family of Balyan
    Those they never carried scimitars…knives…stones…guns…!!!

    (C) Sylva Portoian, M.D