CHIMES FROM A WOODEN BELL: A hundred years in the life of a Euro-Armenian Family
By Taqui Altounyan
Chimes from a Wooden Bell is the remarkable attempt to piece together one hundred years in the lives of two families: one English, the other Armenian. On the English side the family was closely connected with John Ruskin, T.E. Lawrence, and Arthur Ransome, who was so enchanted with the children that he based Swallows and Amazons upon them (the author herself was Captain John); on the Armenian side, the author's relations were eminent philanthropists, her grandfather the founder of a famous hospital in Aleppo. Fragments of letters, lively snatches of conversation, and vivid social and historical events make up Taqui Altounyan's beautifully written memoir of two very different, and ling since vanished, worlds brought briefly together by her two families. Reconstructing the English and Armenian past against her own memory of the colorful characters who were part of her childhood, the author presents a unique social history of two cultures.
I.B. Taurus (1990)