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Not Even my Name (hardcover)

Posted: Thursday, June 08, 2000 at 08:07 PM CT

Not Even My Name"Not Even My Name" is the unforgettable story of Sano Halo's survival of the death march at age 10 that annihilated her family-as told to her daughter, Thea-and the poignant mother-daughter pilgrimage to Turkey in search of Sano's home seventy years after her exile. Sano, a Pontic Greek from a small village near the Black Sea, also recounts the end of her ancient, pastoral way of life in the Pontic Mountains.

The dreadful realization that something was amiss came little by little to Sano's village. Strangers began to inhabit the fields and forests, always watching from a distance like birds of prey. Turkish soldiers made periodic raids to seize men for slave labor in foul, lice-infested camps, where most died of disease, malnutrition, and exposure. Then in the spring of 1920, Turkish soldiers pounded on doors with the butts of their rifles and shouted the proclamation issued by General Kemal (Ataturk): "You are to leave this place. You are to take with you only what you can carry..." On their death march, victims lay where they fell and buzzards hung over their heads. So ended the three-thousand-year history of the Pontic Greeks in Turkey.

Sano and Thea HaloStripped of everything she had ever held dear, even her name, at age fifteen Sano was sold into marriage to a man who brought her to America. He was three times her age. Not Even My Name follows Sano's marriage, the raising of her ten children, and her transformation from an innocent girl who lived an ancient way of life in a remote place to a nurturing mother and determined woman in twentieth-century New York City.

Although Turkey actively suppresses the truth about the slaughter of almost 3 million of its Christian minorities - Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian - during and after World War I, and the exile of millions of others, here is a rare, first-hand account of the horrors of that genocide. But Sano's story is also one of triumph. A brilliant and mesmerizing memoir written in haunting and eloquent prose. Not Even My Name weaves a seamless texture of individual memory that evokes all the suspense and drama of the best-told tales.

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