BannerTop
BannerSide

"Few people within the mainstream American culture even know the Assyrian people still exist. Fewer know anything about the Genocide perpetrated against them. Almost three million Assyrian, Armenian and Greek Christians were murdered by the Islamic Ottoman Turks during World War I because of their ethnicity and faith.

The Crimson Field assigns faces and names to the victims of this dreadful chapter of history. It captures the plight of an Assyrian girl, helplessly caught up in the turmoil of her surroundings.

Malek-Yonan's work shines a terrible light on an overlooked study of Islamic violence during the 20th Century. It is a must read for any person interested in learning about the personal cost of Islamic Jihad."
Lee Enokian, The Times, Northwest Indiana & The Illinois Leader

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Upon seizing Jerusalem in 1799, the future French Emperor Napoleon was said to have been struck by the sight of pious Jews shedding tears beside the Wailing Wall. Still further struck when informed that the Temple above the Wall had been ruined over 17 centuries before, he could not but exclaim in amazement: “And they are still weeping!”

So are the Assyrians, who have a Wailing Wall of their own after being expelled from their historical motherland in 1918. This is Urmia, the focus of their 19th century efforts to revive the Assyrian culture and regain nationhood. Losing it caused a similar frustration to the loss of Nineveh 25 centuries earlier. A bleeding wound in the national psyche that ensued is best compared to a lesion in the heart from a severe life-threatening attack. It badly hurts and will continue so in many more generations of the Assyrian people.

The dispersal of the Jews is part of common knowledge. The 20th century flight and subsequent dispersal of the Assyrians are largely to the Assyrians themselves. Being untold and unexplained, this tragedy is all the more hurtful, creating the feeling of desperation and no way forward for them.

This tragic feeling pulsates in The Crimson Field by Ms. Rosie Malek-Yonan. A composer, a pianist, a film and stage actress, a figure skater for the Winter Olympics in 1980 and a gifted writer, so talented a person is the best imaginable mouthpiece for this feeling. She expresses it so intelligently, caringly and tactfully, that an image arises of a suffering nation that gradually overcomes a tragedy in its recent past with wisdom and spiritual fortitude.

The plot is centered on the family history of an Assyrian woman named Maghdleta. This history unfolds as part of the recent history of the entire Assyrian people. All major events with the Assyrians in the 20th century are reconstructed with scientific precision and in places they almost give the novel the feel of a documentary. Overarching everything are marvelous love stories of rare psychological elaboration and artistic quality. They are a golden find in the novel. Mastership of music enables the author to provide precise emotional and psychological guidance for the reader, setting fine tonal guidelines for each passage in her book.

Characters from four generations of women are in the spotlight, Pari, Maghdleta, Maghdleta’s daughters and Maghdleta’s granddaughters. The main supporting characters (such as Soeur Marie, Zahra Khanoom, Shakar and Madam Gaudin), too, are all women. This feminine prevalence in the book creates overwhelming passion and emotion which keep the reader riveted.

Emotional poignancy in the novel comes to its peak in a small girl named Fibronia. Her tragic story reasserts the old maxim that the treasures of the entire world cannot redeem a single tear of a weeping child.

Last, but by no means least, the author treats her complicated and multifaceted subject in ways and terms that are easily comprehensible and quite simple. My everyday tongue is Russian, but, unexpectedly ­ and I am never tired of thanking God for this ­ I easily read The Crimson Field in its original language, English. Moreover, I read it on a single breath. Ms Rosie Malek-Yonan succeeded in winning what writing is actually for, emotional and intellectual involvement by the reader."
Professor S.G. Osipov, MD, PhD, DSc, Moscow, Russia

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I have completed reading your wonderful historical novel, The Crimson Field. It is, in my opinion, truly a fine piece of writing, and I congradulate you. You have done a great service to the Assyrian people and to humanity in general by recording the terrible tragedy that befell the Assyrian people in the early 20th century."
Professor Dwight Simpson, International Relations, San Francisco State University, CA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"It is with a mix of both trepidation and humility that I approach this, my attempt to do justice to Rosie Malek-Yonan’s exceptional first offering, “The Crimson Field.” Since my ambition herein is to prompt the prospective reader, i.e., “book jacket skimmer,” to do as I personally did: proceed with all alacrity to actually purchase and immediately immerse myself in a personal exploration, I will focus on what I, an actor by trade and an avid reader by avocation, do know: Story.

Maghdleta’s extraordinary saga is, in “genre,” another commentary on the remarkable capacity of even the most unassuming and unlikely of our species to endure the inconceivably unendurable -- and to surmount the seemingly most insurmountable of circumstances.

“The Crimson Field” is viscerally horrific and palpably heroic. It is likewise a “must read” for these times, as it is a tale both unique (I, personally, was unaware that there had even been an Assyrian genocide, less than one-hundred years past) and frighteningly familiar. Need one look any further than today’s Middle East to foretell the dire prospects attendant to centuries of instability and inhumanity? With an administration in Washington that continues to trumpet its success in “fighting terrorism” and, yet, repeatedly reveals the danger inherent in its ignorance about the region, the people, and, most importantly, the history, “The Crimson Field” is, sadly, a commentary on just how suddenly ­ and grotesquely - things can change. To prevail against one’s enemy, one must first understand one’s enemy. If, in fact, “knowledge is power”, then the benefit in educating oneself through a compelling read of this book is an exponential growth in empowerment. As George Santayana cautioned, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

This is NOT a dry, read-yourself-to-sleep, historic narrative. Since Rosie’s “The Crimson Field” is her own ancestral epic saga (i.e., opus magnum), it is with such personal pathos that she has vested her work. The reader not only reads what Magdhleta, her family, and her Assyrian friends and neighbors endured but also feels the pain with intimate immediacy. It is, thus, not a tome for the faint-of-heart. The suffering is real, and the reader who does not connect with shock and revulsion to the magnitude of cruelty brought by man against his fellow man had best reexamine his own desensitized soul. It is simply not possible to ingest this book with the measured passivity of one who has “seen or heard it all.” The humanity, and its converse inhumanity, demands a visceral connection from the reader.

It is on this last basis with which I must take exception to one of the prevailing reactions that my friend, Rosie, has enjoyed among her Assyrian readers: “This is our story. This is the story of all the Assyrian people!”

At the risk of offending those who, God knows, have already suffered unimaginably, I believe it would be a gross mistake to make claims of exclusivity on this extraordinary book; specificity, inarguably, but exclusivity by its very definition diminishes the potential for universal impact of this gifted author. True, the Assyrian genocide ­ and its nearly three-quarters of a million victims ­ provides the specific setting for “The Crimson Field.” In that sense, it would be absurd to take issue with proprietary reactions from among those whose forebears lived it. However, this book is ultimately so much broader in its application. Change the geographic and temporal settings, change the indigenous peoples, and change the scope of the deeds, and what remains is a too often told tale. The Crusades, The Inquisitions (French and Spanish alike), The Holocaust, and even the give-no-quarter sweep of Alexander the Great share a very familiar thread: pathological pursuit of pleasure by inflicting horror on “others” (that is, anyone whose ideology does not comport with one’s own)."
Brian Patrick Clarke, Actor (General Hospital & The Bold and the Beautiful)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"In Rosie Malek-Yonan’s The Crimson Field the author has succeeded in poetically braiding historical facts and personal experiences into a novel—into a book at its best. In one of the chapters the author’s grandmother cuts off her braid. The braid is swept in the current of the river. It remains floating in the shifts and slowly becomes undone. The Assyrian nation and the Assyrian youth are much like every strand of that hair looking to where they once came from. The Crimson Field gives them the reason why they became unbraided and why many lost their roots.

To read The Crimson Field is to understand that the Assyrians were not merely guests in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. The country of Bet-Nahrin in Mesopotamia was the cradle of civilization and the homeland of Assyrians (who also call themselves Chaldeans or Syriacs). Through her characters Malek-Yonan gives us an open window into a past history most would prefer to remain unstirred. She allows the reader to see the scars of her nation that have yet to heal. The only way to understand Assyrians of today is to understand their past.

But most importantly, this book transcends barriers of race and religion. It is a mirror image of the human race at its best and at its worst. There is no physical border between Good and Evil, however, Evil is very real. It is real in the sense that we cannot imagine Evil without its opposite: the care of others, compassion, and love.

This tale of one life takes you on that journey, in the most amazingly literary, beautiful and poetic way possible. Evil can never be forgotten or justified, but it can be forgiven so long as it is acknowledged and recognized!

I’m almost always skeptical when a storyteller or writer leaves little to one’s own imagination by making very clear and bold statements. But that is not the case with Malek-Yonan. In The Crimson Field it’s important for the reader to be brought along when a soul is extorted from a slaughtered body and let the author tell us to look down at the earthly body, in order to understand the feelings of a mother who is driven from her homeland and forced to leave her only child.

Rosie Malek-Yonan’s liquid and lyrical style of writing is a perfect blend of long and short phrases each a poem in itself. The cadences of a concert opera are evident in her writing. A concert you don’t want to leave. Colorful, her writing jars all five senses. The reader smells and touches what her characters experience. The reader sees, feels and tastes what the characters do.

The Crimson Field is literature at its best."
Nuri Kino, Journalist/Documentary Filmmaker, Sweden 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Malek-Yonan is a gifted writer who skillfully captures the naked struggles of a young self-assured Assyrian woman trapped in a war-torn province in northwest Iran, of a Christian nation insensate by ruthless atrocities, and the hopes and fears of an unforgettable cast of characters tormented by numbing events leading to and moving farthest away from the memories of the war, yet each finding themselves years later forever trapped in the hues of the insanity of The Crimson Field.

A stark and compelling treatment of one of the least known horrors of wars of the 20th Century, The Crimson Field is a stirring narrative that masterfully depicts the persecution and murder of some 750,000 Christian Assyrians of Iran, Turkey, and Iraq. Malek-Yonan takes us on a voyage of self-discovery of her grandmother who finds that her search for the meaning of life was more overwhelming than the misery and chaos of the most insane atrocity ever committed on a defenseless people."
Wilfred Bet-Alkhas, Editor-in-Chief, Zinda Magazine, Washington D.C.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"In his book Nationalism in Iran, Dr. Richard W. Cottam stated, "The story of [the Assyrian] flight is one of those epical human tragedies that cries for a great novelist to record." Rosie Malek-Yonan has done just that. The Crimson Field is a significant historical novel by a gifted writer depicting the human miseries of a war-ravaged Assyrian nation. No one has dramatized this epical human tragedy better than Rosie Malek-Yonan through her sensitive and lyrical style writing. The story combines historical facts and suspense in gripping narratives. It is full of excitement, anguish, sorrow, pain and joy. A fearless writer, Malek-Yonan propels the reader through this very visual novel to the events in Urmia, Iran, during World War I. Through the masterful use of her poetic language and style she has excelled in creating this intriguing historically accurate novel."
Dr. Robert Paulissian, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, CA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Rosie Malek-Yonan’s novel about the last century’s first genocide is based on a true story focusing on her maternal grandmother, Maghdleta, who searches a past filled with beautiful and equally cruel memories. These events created a hole in her soul as significant as the hole left in the soul of the Assyrian nation, a hole punctured by the neighboring Turks and Kurds during the First World War, when over 750,000 Assyrians were slaughtered.

The images of the brutal genocide depicted in The Crimson Field are countered by stories of love and romance written in a very poetic and symbolic style. Nevertheless, those of weak heart may consider not reading this novel, as it may be too shocking, cruel and rough.

I felt very emotional when reading The Crimson Field, a story that every living Assyrian can relate to through the inherited stories told by generations of Assyrians, carried in their hearts. At the same time it is a story about human tragedy and how easily friends can turn into enemies."
Ninos Maraha, Hujada Magazine, Sweden

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Ms. Malek-Yonan is an artist who shares her journey most beautifully. The author’s narrative articulates aspects, which unite us all as a race. I know our American Martin Luther King, as well as the Spanish Miguel de Unamuno, the French Victor Hugo and the Japanese Chiune Sugihara would consider Rosie Malek-Yonan a woman of stature; a soul of Tragedy. Unforgettable and endearing characters who never gave their adversaries an easy chair to lounge in by allowing themselves to be washed away into the sea. The people she puts before us have, instead, crossed vast oceans in order to survive. And they have."
Edgar Weinstock, Actor & Director of Theatre & Opera, NY

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"What a remarkable book! Rosie Malek-Yonan’s The Crimson Field takes us on a journey to a time and place that has been largely forgotten in the annals of history. This is a very personal, engagingly written account that moved me like nothing I have ever read on the suffering of a people. It transitions effortlessly from depicting provocative atrocities in a hard hitting no punches pulled style, to vivid portrayal of love, honor, and hope. A beautifully written book that is a must for the Near-East enthusiast and general readers alike."
Firas Jatou, editor, Nineveh Magazine & Journal of Assyrian academic Society, CA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

TabTCF
TabTCF REVIEWS-TCFThumbnail TabTCF
TabTCF
BannerBackToTop
CONTACT PHOTOS 4 HOME MEDIA FAN MAIL PHOTOS 3 PHOTOS 2 PHOTOS 1 U.S. CONGRESS REVIEWS LINKS PURCHASE PurchaseBook TabTCF PurchaseBook TabTCF TabTCF PurchaseBook TabTCF BACK TO TOP BannerBackToTop