The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey (Paperback)
The award-winning story of a young Armenian man’s harrowing escape from the massacre of his people and of his granddaughter’s quest to retrace his steps ¶ “Part family heirloom, part history lesson, The Hundred-Year Walk is an emotionally poignant work, powerfully imagined and expertly crafted.”—Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan’s Inheritance ¶ Growing up, Dawn MacKeen heard from her mother how her grandfather Stepan miraculously escaped from the Turks during the Armenian genocide of 1915, when more than one million people—half the Armenian population—were killed. In The Hundred-Year Walk MacKeen alternates between Stepan’s courageous account, drawn from his long-lost journals, and her own story as she attempts to retrace his steps, setting out alone to Turkey and Syria, shadowing her resourceful, resilient grandfather across a landscape still rife with tension. Dawn uses his journals to guide her to the places he was imperiled and imprisoned and the desert he crossed with only half a bottle of water. Their shared story is a testament to family, to home, and to the power of the human spirit to transcend the barriers of religion, ethnicity, and even time itself. ¶ A Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize · A New York Post Must-Read ¶ “This book reminds us that the way we treat strangers can ripple out in ways we will never know…MacKeen’s excavation of the past reveals both uncomfortable and uplifting lessons about our present.”—Ari Shapiro, NPR ¶ “I am in awe of what Dawn MacKeen has done…Her sentences sing. Her research shines. Her readers will be rapt—and a lot smarter by the end.”—Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion¶ “Harrowing.”—Us Weekly
About the Author
DAWN ANAHID MACKEEN is an award-winning investigative journalist who spent nearly a decade on her grandfather’s story. Previously she was a staff writer at Salon, Newsday, and Smart Money. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She lives in Southern California.
A "Must read" from the New York Post "Gripping." —Outside "Harrowing." —Us Weekly "MacKeen weaves multiple historical sources for corroboration and context, but her main material, Stepan’s unpublished memoir, lands the emotional punch of personal narrative. MacKeen’s added perspective is what makes this book though. A moving portrait of one family’s relationship to the past that offers surprising hope for reconciliation." —Toronto Globe & Mail "MacKeen doesn’t shirk from recounting the grisly details of genocide, describing brutal beatings, hunger to the point of cannibalism, and thirst to the point of urine-drinking. With a health-care reporter’s deft touch, she manages to play down the utter pathos, but her dedication to baring gruesome facts is as unfailing as her loyalty to the mission thrust upon her." —Barron's "Investigative journalist MacKeen always knew her grandfather escaped the Armenian Genocide before building a new life in the United States, but much of her family’s incredible origins were masked by time, cultural boundaries, and systematic government denial. The author set out to bring her family’s past into the present by translating her grandfather Stepan Miskjian’s exhaustive personal journals, researching archival documents, and traveling to Turkey and Syria to retrace his steps and meet the Muslim family that saved him and other Armenians from certain death. The narrative alternates perspectives between MacKeen’s quest and her grandfather’s odyssey. Through his journals, Stepan came alive. He was no longer solely the victim of a holocaust, but clever, hard-working, and even a prankster. He was a peddler, an entrepreneur, a soldier for the Ottoman Empire during World War I, and a highly valued servant of a powerful Sheikh. VERDICT This previously untold story of survival and personal fortitude is on par with Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. Further, this is a tale of tracing your family roots and learning about who you are. It will have broad appeal for a wide range of readers." —Library Journal, STARRED review "Readers will find themselves drawn into the whirlpool of events, soon forgetting the author's presence . . . powerful, terrible stories about what people are willing to do to other people—but leavened with hope and, ultimately, forgiveness.” —Kirkus Reviews —Kirkus Reviews “Part family heirloom, part history lesson, The Hundred-Year Walk is an emotionally poignant work, powerfully imagined and expertly crafted. The considerable archival scaffolding remains invisible as MacKeen carries her readers on an emotional journey full of heartache and hope.” —Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan’s Inheritance “In her remarkable book, The Hundred-Year Walk, Dawn MacKeen has taken the Armenian genocide and shown us its terrifying flesh, blood, bone, and sinew. Her vehicle is her grandfather’s forced deportation, and she uses it to take the reader on a horrific ride into the heart of one of history’s darkest moments.” —S. C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon “I am in awe of what Dawn MacKeen has done here. With the meticulousness of a historian, the courage of an investigative reporter, and the compassion of a daughter mining a fraught and cherished family legacy, MacKeen has accomplished the near impossible. She has elucidated a complicated ethnic and political history through a delightfully literary lens. H —