The Gendarme by Mark T. Mustian

Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
September 2, 2010
Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN: 978-0399156342

The Gendarme

To those around him, Emmet Conn is a 92 year old man on the verge of senility. A World War I veteran, he’s been affected by memory loss since being injured in the war. Now, at the end of his life, he’s beset by visions—frightening and realistic, he’s convinced they are memories of events he and others have denied or purposely forgotten. 

In Emmett’s dreams he’s a gendarme, escorting Armenian women and children from Turkey. A young woman among them, Araxie, captivates and enthralls him. She becomes the love of his life. But then the trek ends, the war separates them. He is injured. Seven decades later, as his grasp on the boundaries between past and present begin to break down, he sets out on a final journey, to find Araxie, and beg her forgiveness.

Alternating between Turkey at the dawn of the 20th century and America in the 1990s, The Gendarme shows how racism creates divisions where none truly exist, how love can transcend nationalities and politics, and how the human spirit fights to survive in the face of hopelessness.  It is a transcendent novel.