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Journey To Virginland - Epistle 1 Reviewed By Janet Walker of Bookpleasures.com
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Janet Walker

Reviewer Janet Walker: Janet is the author of Colour To Die For, first of the Fee Weston Mystery Series. Janet lives in Australia and when she is not writing about P.I. Fee Weston's fight for truth, justice and a livable cash flow, she writes articles for magazines and fund raises for Australia's wildlife carers - heroes of the bush. For more about Janet and Fee visit Janet's WEBSITE





 
By Janet Walker
Published on May 14, 2012
 

Author: Armen Melikian
ISBN-10: 1935097512
ISBN-13: 978-1935097518



Follow Here To Purchase Journey to Virginland - Epistle 1

Author: Armen Melikian
ISBN-10: 1935097512
ISBN-13: 978-1935097518
 

After reading the promotional material sent to me on Armen Melikian’s novel Journey To Virginland I was excited. It appeared to be a combination of new wave Orwellian social comment flavoured with Milan Kundera-like political satirising. As Orwell and Kundera are two of my favourite authors I quickly offered to do a review.

Like beauty, a good read is in the eye of the beholder but maybe, because of my expectations and the fact I don’t much care for ‘experimental’ writing, Journey To Virginland wasn’t a good read for me. I found Armen Melikian’s stream of consciousness style using the main character, Dog, to narrate the story confusing and repetitive. Full marks to Mr. Melikian for trying something new and there were passages in his book which did capture my interest and attention. So what’s it all about?

Set in a dystopian future it chronicles the main character, Dog’s search for meaning and acceptance in a world of oppressive regimes and even more oppressive religious hierarchies. Individualism, a big no-no, it’s conform or suffer the consequences – not very pleasant. The story’s imaginary locations: Paradise, Gehenna, Satanland, Stalinland and of course Virginland (there are many more named imaginary areas) are, dependent on your own philosophical bent, easy to marry up with current world countries (no prize for guessing which of today’s nations the author used as a model for Satanland).

For my money less places and characters would have made Journey To Virginland easier to comprehend and stopped me feeling I needed to take notes to keep up with who was who and where they were born. After reading a few chapters I realized that many characters were just ‘passing through’ to illustrate a philosophical point or provide background for the main characters – Dog and Kathy, so I gave up on the pen and paper.

Dog empathises with women’s rights (Kathy’s in particular) and is keen on sex but not keen on women/whores who offer sex in an effort to trap men into marriage to secure a rewarding financial future. I didn’t find Dog’s thoughts added anything new to the debate on womenhood’s struggle for male/female equality and found some of the recurring text on female financial scheming comical (maybe it was intended to be) and overly simplistic.

Dog trips around quite a lot but doesn’t strike it lucky; he is neither accepted by or accepting of the places he visits or the people he meets. Religious practices don’t strike a chord with Dog and he is critical of doctrines which purport to: if not provide heaven on earth at the very least ensure everlasting life and anything else that will put bottoms on seats and hands in pockets. I don’t have any religious affiliation so wasn’t bothered by Dog dumping on pretty much every deity I am aware of,  although at times it did seem to be generalizations without any depth to the premises expressed.

The text is interspersed with poetic sequences full of original, passionate imagery. I liked these interludes more than Dog’s thoughts and anecdotal narrative.

The message I got from reading Journey To Virginland was: the thing wrong with society is society itself – not exactly new but certainly true at times. Armen Melikian does have interesting ideas and like all writers strives to make a connection with readers. I didn’t connect with Journey To Virginland but you might. Who knows; in a world too prone to be prosaic (thanks to the writers of Kismet) it could be the next bestseller. Give it a try, it’s certainly different.       


Follow Here To Purchase Journey to Virginland - Epistle 1