Carol Edgarian's astonishing and eagerly awaited second novel is a grand love story and a dazzling social chronicle of turbulent America today.
Charlie Pepper and Lena Rusch live in San Francisco in a modest pink bungalow they cannot afford. On the hill above them sit the great houses of the rich, with their servants and gardens and glorious views of the bay. Charlie and Lena grew up believing they could have it all — sex, love, marriage, children, career, brilliance. Now, in early middle age, life has delivered surprises and tests—a stillborn twin, an economic crash, a ruthless rival in Charlie’s business, and a seductive lover from Lena’s past.
"In this gorgeously written, haunting and often hilarious novel, Carol Edgarian conjures a particular moment in America's recent history and unleashes within it a collision of universal forces: love, desire, ambition, loyalty. I can't think of a book that more viscerally evokes the gritty challenge-and casual heroism-of motherhood and marriage."
—JENNIFER EGAN, author of A Visit From the Goon Squad
An international bestseller, now available in this twentieth-anniversary revised edition with an introduction by the author, Rise the Euphrates reaches back to 1915 Armenia when nine-year-old Casard watches the Turks slaughter her family and hundreds of other Armenians. On a death march through the desert to the Euphrates River, the child witnesses her mother’s death and experiences a betrayal so profound that she forgets her name.
Casard emigrates to America and puts the unspeakable past behind her; yet as the years pass, she infuses her only daughter, Araxie, with a legacy of anger and shame. Araxie willfully marries outside the clan, making her husband and their children odar—outsiders. It falls to the next generation, Casard’s granddaughter, to heal the family. Seta Loon, the novel’s lyrical narrator, is the one upon whom both mother and grandmother pin their pain and hope, their regrets and dreams. “The daughter assumes what is unfinished in her mother’s life,” Seta learns. “The unanswered questions become her work.” Caught between the generations, between American and Armenian cultures in her Connecticut town, Seta confronts an even fiercer division: the one within herself. Seta’s remarkable song, and the wisdom she gains that frees the next generation and restores dignity and meaning to her family’s past, are Carol Edgarian’s stunningly original and groundbreaking triumph in Rise the Euphrates.
"This is a book whose generosity of spirit, intelligence, humanity and finally ambition are what literature ought to be and rarely is today — daring, heartbreaking and affirmative, giving order and sense to our random lives."
—WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
AMBITION. FAME. SEX. Envy. Gossip. Money. Death. They’re all here, in this dazzling book of quotations—many of them previously unpublished—from the diaries, journals, and notebooks of the world’s greatest writers. Arranged chronologically, from the fervent declarations of youth to the serene reflections of old age, The Writer’s Life spans twenty-three countries and four centuries to observe the entire spectrum of the human condition, with particular attention paid to the joys and agonies of literary endeavor. Eloquent, candid, brimming with passion, insight, and wit, the result is an invaluable resource for any writer—or for anyone seeking expert instruction in the art of being human.