Armenian American author Meline Toumani discusses her thought-provoking new memoir, There Was and There Was Not, with radio journalist Barbara Bogaev.
In the book, which was named as a finalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award, Toumani examines the legacy of the Armenian genocide of 1915 and the complex role it plays in her own identity. The author spent four years conducting interviews with Turkish scholars, visiting the remains of Armenian villages, and building a complicated life in Istanbul—all part of what she calls “a love thine enemy experiment.” In this year of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, There Was and There Was Not asks hard questions about what it means for a diaspora, created from and later galvanized by a tragedy, to move forward and flourish, and reflects on how we use—and sometimes abuse—our personal histories to make sense of our lives. A Q&A and book signing follow the program. Barbara Bogaev is guest host for American Public Media's Marketplace Money; former host of Soundprint, a public radio documentary program; and substitute host of NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.