“Difficult Truths: Nancy Kricorian” in Portrait einer Hoffnung: Die Armenier (Portrait of Hope: The Armenians)

Portrait of Hope cover

Published in German, Portrait of Hope: The Armenians will be available in English in 2007. The following is an excerpt of my essay “Difficult Truths” on New York-based Armenian American author Nancy Kricorian:

By her own admission, Nancy Kricorian is an intellectual. A recognized poet, she is more popularly known as a novelist with two books that give voice to some distinctly Armenian American realities. A native of Watertown, Massachusetts, she’s an unlikely New Yorker who first arrived in the great American metropolis in 1984 and slowly fell in love with a place she first considered dirty, noisy and crowded.

Today, she bucks the traditional adage that New York is no place to raise kids, and has settled with her family in the city’s academic heartland that circles Columbia University. She is part of the American literary tradition which takes for granted that America has been woven with the threads of varied cultural narratives.

Kricorian, like her writing, is taut, rhythmic and has a tone that is distinctly American. Yet, there is also a recognizable Armenian voice in her writing and thinking, one that comes across as innate, something I can only think to describe as cosmopolitan. It is a sensibility that seems to permeate her life in every aspect.

As a poet, Kricorian is cultivated and doesn’t shy away from images that jolt her readers. In her poem entitled, “My Armenia” she writes: “Armenia is a country where someone is always crying,/Women punch in and out on the clock, grieving in shifts./1895, 1915, 1921, the thirties, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994…” Her humor is black, vintage, but chillingly precise.

Unlike the cinematic quality of her poems, her novels chart emotional journeys in which her main characters, who have huge appetites for the world and a naivety that allows them to explore it thoroughly, partake.

The book is available at various German websites, including: http://www.bol.de/shop/home/artikeldetails/portrait_einer_hoffnung_die_armenier/huberta_von_voss/ISBN3-89930-087-4/ID6016492.html;jsessionid=fdc-gu4072umyd2.fdc31



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