Dreams of Bread and Fire

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9780802141231: Dreams of Bread and Fire

A breathtaking novel that follows a young woman named Ani Silver through college, a long sojourn in Paris, and a string of romantic entanglements, all of which lead her to confront the legacy of her Armenian family's tragic past.

At the book's opening, Ani is a bright, trusting young woman, passionately in love with Asa Willard: a New England boy with a trust fund as big as his appetites, and the farthest thing possible from the old world accents and superstitions that filled the childhood home she shared with her widowed mother and her Armenian grandparents. After college, she sets off for Paris in pursuit of education and adventure, safe in the belief that Asa is devoted and waiting for her to come home, where they'll marry and live a simple American life. But just as she is beginning to lose herself to the beauty and mystery of her new city, she receives a letter from Asa that shatters her dreams for the future. Newly unanchored, she confronts the puzzle of her individual and cultural identity for the first time, a puzzle that is enhanced and complicated by the resurfacing of a childhood friend, Van Ardavanian. Van is an elusive and beguiling character, an intense, single-minded young man whose preoccupation with the Armenian heritage they share verges on the obsessive. He shows Ani a whole new way of looking at the world, turns her eyes to a tragic heritage she has shut out, and opens doors to parts of her identity that she has never before acknowledged. But Van cannot deliver her to herself any more than Asa could, and through him Ani learns that passion and idealism can have dark consequences.

Through a new constellation of friends and acquaintances in this foreign city, Ani comes to ask the questions about herself and the continuum she is a part of, and when Van disappears under dubious and mysterious circumstances, Ani returns home determined to puzzle out her past-- that of her father, David Silver, a Jew from NYC who was killed in a car accident when Ani was only five; that of David's family, who cut him and his new family off the moment he married Ani's Armenian mother; and finally, that of Ani's grandmother and grandfather whose gut-wrenching experiences during Armenian massacres at the hands of the Turks spill out once and for all, only at Ani's tentative prompting.

Having learned the hard way that she cannot use other people as conduits through which to find herself, Ani ultimately comes to demand access to the rooms of her past that have been denied her. Infused with warmth and humor, Dreams of Bread and Fire is an irresistible novel that addresses a question that has faced every generation in this country: whether it is possible to achieve the neat simplicity of American life once we've arrived here without denying the haunting legacies of the places we've fled from.

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About the Author:

Nancy Kricorian, author of the novels Zabelle and Dreams of Bread and Fire, is a widely published poet, essayist, and activist. After graduating from Dartmouth, Nancy studied and worked in Paris before earning an MFA in writing at Columbia University.

From Publishers Weekly:

On a university fellowship in Paris, Ani Silver recovers from a failed love affair and comes to terms with her Armenian heritage in this fitfully lyrical but clumsily plotted novel. Just a few weeks into her stay in France, Ani is dumped by her self-involved trust-fund boyfriend in the U.S. Still hopelessly smitten, she finds it hard to forget him, even with the distraction of her semiotics classes at the Sorbonne and her duties as the au pair for a rich American couple and their daughter. Only a fortuitous encounter with her distant cousin Van Ardavanian, who grew up with her in the Armenian enclave of Watertown, Mass., rouses her from her depression. After they meet on Christmas Eve in Paris, they begin to see each other often. Van says he is working for an Armenian relief agency, but he disappears on odd errands. After a romantic trip to Corsica, Ani discovers that he is carrying a fake Cypriot passport and confronts him. His confession comes close to shaking her love for him, but also launches her into a study of the fate of the Armenians at the hands of the Turks. Her mother's parents fled Armenia during the genocide and now live in Watertown; her father's parents were devoutly Jewish and disowned their son after he married outside the faith. Back in the U.S., Ani sets out to learn all about both sides of her family, while worrying about Van, who disappeared just before she left Paris. Kricorian (Zabelle) can paint vivid tableaus, but she often strains for poetic effect, and Ani's self-conscious romantic musings vie awkwardly with the Armenian themes for top billing. All sorts of threads dangle at the novel's hasty conclusion, and readers will be left wishing Kricorian had focused her tale more tightly.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Ani Silver is a young American woman whose half-Jewish, half-Armenian heritage seems a mere footnote to her own identity. But when the dark shadows of history insinuate themselves into her otherwise peaceful life, she is propelled into a profound and passionate series of journeys-a quest for a long-dead father, a search for the clues of a nearly forgotten genocide, and a love threatened by a quietly gathering storm of murder and retribution. After college, Ani leaves for a year in Paris, taking along her boyfriend s pledge of fidelity and the promise of their future together. When she receives a letter from him ending their relationship, she falls into a series of romantic misadventures. It is not long before Ani reconnects with a childhood friend, an elusive and intriguing character whose preoccupation with the Armenian heritage they share provides Ani with a new connection to her identity-even as she begins to suspect that he has a secret, and dangerous, identity himself. Both funny and heartbreaking, clear through to its bold and exquisite conclusion, Dreams of Bread and Fire is an irresistible novel of passion, ideals, and the temptations-and dangers-of trying to outrun our origins. Bookseller Inventory # BZE9780802141231

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