First reviews of Jerry Burger's SHADOWS OF 1915

Here are the first online reviews of Jerry Burger's The Shadows of 1915.

Eleanor W.
May 23, 2019
This novel will grab you by the heart and engage your attention. It tells the story of the conflict between Armenians and Turks through the eyes of one son in an Armenian American family who differs from his brother in his feelings about how to handle the grief handed down across the generations. Set in mid-20th century Fresno, California where there is a large Armenian community it follows the Armenian family through renewed...and deadly...conflict with Turks who also found their way to Fresno. The characters are compellingly drawn and the descriptions of place put you right there. The main character, one of the brothers, struggles with moral dilemmas which are not neatly resolved.

I found this novel compelling, making me wonder about myself in a similar situation, I could not put it down.

May 20, 2019
I'm an avid reader and love a good story and I especially admire stories that keep me thinking about them even when I'm not reading. Burger is a masterful storyteller in his debut novel, "The Shadows of 1915," an apt title hinting that past events can loom over people for generations. I was hooked in the opening pages. The story of Tarvez and Vartouhi was so touching (and eye opening, I did not know that this genocide occurred) that I couldn't put the book down until I knew the full story.
Here are some of the challenges we face as readers of this story:
* When is it okay to kill another person? Surely not genocide or a senseless crime. What about war or premeditated self-defense?
* Is it ever okay to lie? Was Mihran right to lie to protect his family? If the Turks of 1953 really believed that the Armenian genocide didn't happen, their parents and government lied to them. Is it okay to rewrite history?
* Family loyalty can extend to an entire race throughout time, and can be a burden. Certainly the Turks were wrong in their treatment of Armenians in 1915-18. But are the Armenians much better in 1953 in the way they're treating the Turks of that day or the Mexican labor workers? Will that cycle ever end?
* Tarvez and Teresa have very different responses to tragic events they experienced. What underlies the ability to overcome adversity?

There is so much to unpack in this novel. My only complaint is the story, complete as it was told, was short. I didn’t want it to end.

May 23, 2019
As an Armenian-American, this book resonated with me from the first page. I was pulled in by the love story but also by all the intricate details of the era, culture and city. Details of not just Fresno but of the Armenian mindset and mentality. If I didn't know better, I would have sworn the author, Jerry Burger, was Armenian. The story touches on real thoughts and conversations that ALL Armenians face. The story hits home on so many levels.
So many Armenian stories are grim and depressing however Burger does a great job of capturing the vitality of life while still keeping our Armenian identity.
I loved the book and encourage others to read it-- Armenian or not! Bravo!

R. Vartabedian
May 25, 2019
This is a very compelling novel that I could not put down once I started reading it. It truly captures the essence of a time, place, and culture. It is certainly one of the best "reads" that I have experienced in a long, long time.