Zabelle begins in a suburb of Boston with the quiet death of Zabelle Chahasbanian, an elderly widow and grandmother whose history remains vastly unknown to her family. But as the story shifts back in time to Zabelle’s childhood in the waning days of Ottoman Turkey, where she survives the 1915 Armenian genocide and near starvation in the Syrian desert, an unforgettable character begins to emerge. Zabelle’s journey encompasses years in an Istanbul orphanage, a fortuitous adoption by a rich Armenian family, and an arranged marriage to an Armenian grocer who brings her to America where the often comic interactions and battles she wages are forever colored by shadows from the long-lost world of her past.
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ZabelleUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Zabelle Chahasbanian, the seventysomething matriarch of an Armenian-American family, is dead. Her children gather to plan her funeral. What was special about Ma, they wonder. It is clear that at least ... Read full review
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Adana afternoon Al-Ain Anahit Armenian Arsinee Arsinee's asked Auntie Aziz baby bedroom Bible Boyajian bulgur button called Chahasbanian church closed clothes coffee cousin Dalita dark Digin dinner door dress Elizabeth eyes face father feet felt front Garabed girl glanced going Hadjin hair hand head heard Helen husband Jack Jack's Joy's kitchen knew Kodjababian laughed Little Moses living room looked Lucine Lucine's Maral married Mayrig Melkonian Mersin morning Moses Bodjakanian Moses's mother mother-in-law mouth NANCY KRICORIAN Neriman never night nose odar Ohanessian's pakhlava Peter Manoogian porch pulled Rouben Mamoulian Sarkis Sarmin shirt shouted shut sitting sleep smile someone stairs stared Stepanian stood street talk tell thimble thing thought tin cup told Toros Toros's Turkish turned Varsenic Vartan Vartanoush voice walked watching Watertown week whispered wife window Zabelle Zabelle's