February 14, 2012

Review & #Giveaway - Journey to Virginland by Armen Melikian


ABOUT THE BOOK:

At turns heartbreaking and diabolically funny, Journey to Virginland is a tour de force, delivered by a master storyteller.

The protagonist, a loutish and uber-cerebral antihero known simply as Dog, takes on the challenge to navigate the perilous paradigm shifts of our age, determined to find his proper place under the sun. Is he doomed to failure? Or will he pull it off by heeding his own irreducible voice, given the ebb of the old certainties?

Dog pursues the answer unrelentingly, through an impassioned quest for identity and meaning. He revisits his relationships with women, family, literature, and homeland, in the process illuminating his journey with commentaries on history, religion, politics, and culture that unravel our very fabric.

Marked by biting satire and tappings into lushest scholarship, Dog’s naked critique touches on some of the most pressing issues facing humanity: the arrogance of empire and organized religion; the persistence of bigotry, xenophobia, and social Darwinism; the double standards of sexual politics; the bankrupt rationale behind patriotism and state propaganda; and hypercapitalism and consumerism, among others.

An ocean of struggles and epiphanies takes Dog to a spiritual ground zero called Virginland, where the story unfolds. It is also in Virginland that Dog unearths an ancient calendar based on a cosmic worldview. His discovery reveals the mythological underpinnings of the Zodiac, subverting the current conventional wisdom about the subject.

What emerges from the protagonist’s odyssey is not only a cogent depiction of what makes us tick, but, as day follows night, a dazzling new vista for social and spiritual transformation.

With its vibrant style, thematic breadth, and, ultimately, unfettered sense of humanity, Journey to Virginland establishes itself as a groundbreaking literary enterprise and a true original.

MY THOUGHTS:

When I first heard about Journey to Virginland, I was instantly intrigued by the title.  I started reading it the night I received it in the mail and I ended up reading into the wee hours of the early morning.  I did not want to put this book down, but eventually my tiredness kicked in full gear and I fell asleep.  When I woke up, I went right back to reading and didn't put it down until I reached the last page.

Armen's writing ability sucks the reader in and doesn't let up.  I was forced to look at myself and realized that I was dealing with a large amount of emotions that were let loose just by reading this book.  When you are looking for a book to challenge you and force you to look into your spiritual self, pick up Journey to Virginland.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Armen Melikian (b. 1963) earned a Master's in International Relations from American University, Washington, D.C. He also studied mathematics at Harvard and elsewhere, and was admitted by the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University to pursue graduate studies in Analytic Geometry, Mathematical Physics, and Topology. However, he eventually abandoned both politics and mathematics in favor of literature and dedicated his life to writing. Melikian lives in Los Angeles.

Melikian is one of those rare thinkers whose intensity of passion matches their sharp wit and intellect. His poignant observations take to task the core tenets of metaideologies and jockeying civilizations, helping to discard layer after layer of entrenched misinformation and dogma.

Melikian brings a fresh, prodigiously layered voice to contemporary literature, not only expanding the boundaries of the novelistic endeavor as an artistic medium per se, but infusing it with extraordinary urgency and relevance in terms of sociopolitical, cultural, religious, and philosophical thought as well as mythological exegesis.

To date, awards and honors earned by Melikian's debut novel, Journey to Virginland, include the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Fiction. The novel was selected by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards as one of the year’s top five books in Humor/Comedy, and received the only Honorable Mention in the Literary Fiction category at ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards. These awards were based on a limited prepublication copy of the book that was made available by the publisher before its release.

Given its prescient vision of the shape of things to come, Melikian’s novel has been compared by critics to some of the masterpieces of contemporary literature, among them the politically explosive works of George Orwell. It has also been compared to Gurdjieff's Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, and even to the book of Revelation.

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13 comments:

Beth said...

The author won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Fiction.

bethsbookreviewblog2 AT gmail DOT com

Wendi said...

Armen Melikian (b. 1963) holds a Master's in International Relations from American University, Washington, D.C.

Wendi said...

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SusieBookworm (Susanna) said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

I'm interested because the website said Melikian's writing has been compared to that of George Orwell. :)

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SueZH said...

I put this on my have to read list. I could use something so different.

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