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It was her first effort:

June 27, 2022

Wrtiting Three Apples Fell From Heaven, required a certain audacity. It is a difficult and rewarding novel to read. It is about the Armenian genocide, and there are a lot of parts that are really graphic.

Through the lives depicted in Three Apples Fell From Heaven, we witness the vanishing of a people. Together, the stories of these lives form a narrative mosaic–faceted, complex, richly textured, a devastating tableau.

There is a wisdom here that is eons beyond other writers of Marcom’s generation

Micheline Aharonian Marcom has published six novels, including a trilogy of books about the Armenian genocide and its aftermath in the 20th century. 

Through a series of chapters that have the weight and economy of poetry, Micheline Aharonian Marcom introduces us to the stories of Anaguil, an Armenian girl taken in by Turkish neighbors after the death of her parents who now views the remains of her world through a Muslim veil; Sargis, a poet hidden away in his mother’s attic, dressed in women’s clothing, and steadily going mad; Lucine, a servant and lover of the American consul; Maritsa, a rage-filled Muslim wife who becomes a whore; and Dickran, an infant left behind under a tree on the long exodus from an Armenian village, who reaches with tiny hands to touch the stars and dies with his name.

For Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Three Apples Fell From Heaven is an elegy to the final days of Orientalism and an elegant memorial to the victims of the twentieth century’s first genocide

Micheline Aharonian Marcom was born 1968 in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Marcom’s family emigrated from Saudi Arabia when she was a baby (her mother is Armenian-Lebanese, her father American and Jewish). She grew up in Los Angeles, but as a child in the years before the Lebanese Civil War, she spent summers in Beirut with her mother’s family.

“Even our Lord Jesus Christ was a migrant at one time,” a character named Royo tells Emilio in the book

The New American, her seventh novel about a DREAMer who is deported to Guatemala and makes his way home to California, was published August 2020.

Undocumented immigration is the subject of Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s latest novel, “The New American.”

“So many families here have mixed (citizenship) status within them. I wanted to understand it better, ” 

An utterly relatable young protagonist in “The New American,” Emilio is a composite based on numerous young men Marcom met during her three decades as a Berkeley resident working closely with immigrant communities, getting to know the traumas of displacement up close.

“I didn’t make anything up in the book,” Marcom said. “Everything that happens to Emilio has happened to somebody in real life.” Her challenge as a novelist was writing responsibly about the migrant experience while giving herself aesthetic, imaginative license to “let Emilio’s story unfold as an archetypal journey.”

Micheline Aharonian Marcom says writers should not be limited in what they can write about, but they should do everything in their power to tell the story well. Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

“I’ve been teaching creative writing for almost 20 years, and I always talk to my students about integrity,”  – Micheline Aharonian Marcom

“I would never tell another writer what to write, and I don’t want someone to tell me what to write either. But I think a writer should ask herself, ‘Why are you taking this up?’ And if the story is calling to you and you feel you must write it, you must do everything in your power to get inside that world and do it well. I believe that very strongly.” – Micheline Aharonian Marcom

“The New American” will deeply consider the human toll of migration in the broadest sense, the fact that people’s need to flee unsafe conditions and find safe harbor elsewhere is as old as civilization itself.

Micheline became aware at a young age of just how ubiquitous migration is in the personal histories of a population as diverse and foreign-born as California’s where she resides up to this day.

3 Comments
  1. It resonated with.me when you quoted that’s Jesus roo was a migrant..So true how much his life reflected the plight of the persecuted and of those forced to leave their homeland..
    Thank you for this introduction to Micheline Marcon’s works.

    • The same with me Poet, that quote just grabbed me and held me for a long time. It was wonderful to feel the embracing presence of the Holy Spirit in this moment.
      Thank you so much for reading.
      You are most welcome.

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