A tour-de-force, Rosie Malek-Yonan’s The Crimson Field is a historical and literary novel with enormous implications. Uncompromising and unflinching, it is based on real events and true family chronicles set to the backdrop of the Assyrian Massacres of 1914-1918 in Urmi, Iran. This is a unique triumph in that the Assyrian tragedy unfolds in an epic novel, the first of its kind, supported by actual painstakingly researched historical facts of a nation’s raw and agonizing past; a nation that has never been fully healed of its bleeding wounds and still grieves for its fallen martyrs.
Malek-Yonan’s intense interest in her family’s history that cannot be separated from her Assyrian heritage and historical events that have swept that nation in a deluge of bloodbath, began more than two decades ago. As she embarked on her journey of discovery, searching family documents and probing for her roots, she found a commonality with her Assyrian people who experienced the same trenchant attacks as her family at the hands of the Turks and Kurds nearly a century ago.
The Crimson Field is a harsh, yet poetic, narrative of her maternal grandmother, Maghdleta’s lifelong struggle to come to terms with a momentary decision made in haste during the brutality of the Assyrian Massacres and Genocide. The Crimson Field is a reconstruction of history, brick by brick, reassembling the unimaginable losses suffered by an Assyrian woman and those of her nation. Rosie Malek-Yonan’s high-spirited approach affords the reader a rare glimpse into the lives of a nation bereaved and long imagined to be forgotten. This epic novel is a tender reminder of the resilience of a people in their quest for survival. The Crimson Field is the author’s Requiem Mass for her Assyria.
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