Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient
Well of Ararat, The
Armenian Heritage Press

Well of Ararat, The

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by Emmanuel P. Varandyan

The Well of Ararat is the story of a swift and passionate tragedy, seen through the eyes of a troubled, sensitive boy whose early life is shaped by events around him. The first violent incidents of an adventurous life come to Sassoon, a boy in a remote Persian Armenian village, in the ominous years preceding World War I. When his uncle Ardavaz returns from Russia, Sassoon becomes caught up in a web of adult passions which he cannot comprehend. Varandyan's writing has a freshness and a sense of wonder and excitement, which bring bright color to his prose; it has a vitality, an admiration for life and man, which transmute a story of love and early sorrow into a legend of universal appeal.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of The Well of Ararat is the wealth of authentic detail is provides on Armenian village life in Persia early in the twentieth century. In addition to being a well-crafted work of fiction, it preserves the memory of a way of life which has vanished. The Well of Ararat was first published in 1938 by Doubleday, Doran & Co. after being awarded the Avery Hopgood Award at the University of Michigan. At the time it was acclaimed by Story magazine as "A mature, rich, and colorful study … lyrical, peopled with characters and observation; a beautiful picture. "Margaret Bedrosian, in her study of Armenian-American literature, The Magical Pine Ring, writes that The Well of Ararat "was as severe a sociological critique of the Old World as The Grapes of Wrath had been of America."

The Armenian Heritage Press is proud to make this enduring work available to new generations of readers. A new introduction and biographical sketch by Dr. Eden Naby and Professor Richard N. Frye provide valuable historical context and background for Varandyan's masterful tale.

Armenian Heritage Press (2005)