The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Dawn Anahid MacKeen
“Part family heirloom, part history lesson, The Hundred-Year Walk is an emotionally poignant work, powerfully imagined and expertly crafted.”—Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan’s Inheritance
“This book reminds us that the way we treat strangers can ripple out in ways we will never know . . . MacKeen’s excavation of the past reveals both uncomfortable and uplifting lessons about our present.”—Ari Shapiro, NPR
Growing up, Dawn MacKeen heard from her mother how her grandfather Stepan miraculously escaped from the Turks during the Armenian genocide of 1915, when more than one million people—half the Armenian population—were killed. In The Hundred-Year Walk MacKeen alternates between Stepan’s courageous account, drawn from his long-lost journals, and her own story as she attempts to retrace his steps, setting out alone to Turkey and Syria, shadowing her resourceful, resilient grandfather across a landscape still rife with tension. Dawn uses his journals to guide her to the places he was imperiled and imprisoned and the desert he crossed with only half a bottle of water. Their shared story is a testament to family, to home, and to the power of the human spirit to transcend the barriers of religion, ethnicity, and even time itself.
“I am in awe of what Dawn MacKeen has done here . . . Her sentences sing. Her research shines. Her readers will be rapt—and a lot smarter by the end.”—Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion