Considering their range, influence, and colorful history in communities across the Middle East, Armenians have a natural place in the literature of the region. Due to the definitive place of the 1915 genocide in the popular imagination and legacy of the Armenian diaspora, works of fiction concerning Armenians have tended to raise moral and aesthetic questions about literary treatment of historical atrocities. This review considers novels by Amin Maalouf, Rabih Alameddine, Aline Ohanesian, and Orhan Pamuk, selected for their portrayal of Armenian characters and for their direct or oblique reference to the annihilation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Through close reading and development of literary-historical context, the review seeks to relate Armenian identity to each novel's artistic goals and substantial themes. This investigation suggests that understatement and evocation of absence, rather than direct description, define the most powerful approach to reckoning with the tragedies of the twentieth century.

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