The Young Man in the Gray Suit

Written by Agop J. Hacikyan
Review by Ann Chamberlin

Repercussions to the Armenian genocide of nearly a century ago follow characters, Armenian and Turkish, to Istanbul and New York in this sequel to the international bestseller A Summer without Dawn. American-educated Nour’s wealthy father dies, leaving a large amount of cash to a strange woman. Nour is charged with finding her, the Maro Balian of the previous novel, and in the process learns all sorts of secrets, even about himself.

Now, if any government makes it illegal to write about something, as the Turkish government has forbidden word of this blot to its history, I’m the first one to say, “Let’s read some more about that, then.” I am sorry to say, however, that The Young Man in the Gray Suit is so poorly written that I can’t make that recommendation here. Hacikyan had a co-writer for Summer, and we must realize just how much he owed to Jean-Yves Soucy. The voice here is awkward, the situations contrived in a stuffy collegiate fashion that tries to say “See how sexy and liberal we are” but falls on its face while trying to pick up young co-eds. Characters are of the thinnest cardboard, the drug subplot out of the worst of hokey modern television. How can someone who lived through the fifties use the word “detox”? Send a middle-class woman up to her room to watch the nightly news? Have a middle-class Turkish woman have sex in 1955 without worrying about her reputation? Have a household, even a wealthy one, with multiple wives without comment in Turkey which outlawed polygamy in 1923?

Read something else about ArmeniaSummer without Dawn, perhaps.