Monday, October 14, 2013

Chris Bohjalian—Thought-Provoking Writer

Author Chris Bohjalian most prominently came to the attention of readers when his book Midwives became a bestseller and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her televised book group. As in most of his novels, he writes about a very heartbreaking subject. What happens when Sibyl Danforth, a midwife in a small Vermont town, is accused of neglect? When a delivery goes wrong and the expectant mother dies, Danforth is taken to court and tried, as is the whole profession of midwifery. The story in Midwives is told years later by the midwife's daughter.

Much of Bohjalian’s work is characterized by the amount of research he does on the subjects of his novels. Although fiction, his titles have a realistic air and introduce readers to topics about which they might be unaware.

Bohjalian’s newest novel is The Sandcastle Girls, a story of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  Narrated in the present by the grand-daughter of the main characters, a Boston woman who goes to Armenia during the genocide to act as a nurse, and the Armenian engineer she marries—a man who lost his wife and daughter. Shifting back and forth in time and immersing the action during a tragic and little known historic event, The Sandcastle Girls doesn’t sugarcoat history. The book can be quite shocking at times. Bohjalian’s storytelling skills and great characterizations shine in this thought-provoking book.

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