ORHAN’S INHERITANCE

Aline Ohanesian

A #1 Indie Next Pick

A Library Journal Editor’s Pick

A B&N Discover Great New Writers Selection

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather,

who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is

found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan

inherits the decades-old business. But his

grandfather has left the family estate to a stranger

thousands of miles away, Seda, an aging woman in a retirement home in

Los Angeles.

more …

A #1 Indie Next Pick

A Library Journal Editor’s Pick

A B&N Discover Great New Writers Selection

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather,

who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is

found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan

inherits the decades-old business. But his

grandfather has left the family estate to a stranger

thousands of miles away, Seda, an aging woman in a retirement home in

Los Angeles. Over time, Orhan begins to unearth the story that eightyseven-

year-old Seda so closely guards–a story that, if it’s told, has the

power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan’s family is built and could

unravel Orhan’s own future.

Moving between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s,

Orhan’s Inheritance is a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors,

incredible resilience, and the hidden stories that haunt a family.

less …
  • Algonquin Books
  • Paperback
  • January 2016
  • 352 Pages
  • 9781616205300

Buy the Book

$15.95

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  • Algonquin Books
  • Hardcover
  • April 2015
  • 352 Pages
  • 9781616203740

Buy the Book

$25.95

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About Aline Ohanesian

Aline Ohanesian is a grandchild of Armenian

Genocide survivors. Their story was the inspiration for her first novel,

Orhan’s Inheritance, which was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for

Socially Engaged Fiction. She lives in San Juan Capistrano, CA, with her

husband and two children.

Praise

“A remarkable debut novel that exhibits an impressive grasp of history as

well as narrative intensity and vivid prose.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Rich, tragic, compelling, and realized with deep care and insight.”—Elle

“A breathtaking and expansive work of historical fiction and proof that the

past can sometimes rewrite the future.”—Christina Baker Kline, author

of Orphan Train

“A harrowing tale of unimaginable sacrifice . . . A novel that delves into

the darkest corners of human history and emerges with a tenuous sense of

hope.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Discussion Questions

Setting plays such a significant role in Orhan’s Inheritance.

How do the two settings, Karod village in Turkey and

the Ararat Home in Los Angeles, affect the characters?

Why do you think Kemal dies the way he does? What is

the symbolism of the vat of dye?

Orhan’s early photography was so focused on abstraction that he

failed to see the world around him clearly. How does Orhan’s early

photography compare with his later work, when he takes up the

camera again? In what way does he see the world differently?

Do you think words construct meaning differently than visual images

do, whether drawn or photographed?

How are Orhan and Seda similar when it comes to their relationship

with their pasts? What is Ani’s perspective on the past? What do you

think these characters learn from one another?

Lucine’s father, Hairig, defines strength as adaptability. How would

you describe Lucine’s strength? What are the qualities that help her

survive this ordeal?

At what point does Seda stop speaking? Why do you think she makes

this choice?

Do your feelings about Fatma change in the course of the novel?

If so, how?

Why does Lucine feel that she and Kemal can never be together?

There are many instances of individual and collective guilt in the story

as exemplified in the war scenes with Kemal and his soldier friends.

Do you think there’s such a thing as collective guilt? If so, is it easier to

bear and what are its effects?

Once Orhan knows about his family’s and country’s history, how do

you think he should respond? Do you think he’s done enough by the

end of the novel?

Much of the novel grapples with the power of words as well as their

insufficiency. How important are the words we use to describe

someone or something? Why does it matter what Orhan calls Fatma

or whether we call what happened in 1915 a genocide?