The Gathering Place: Stories from the Armenian Social Club in Old Shanghai

Armenians will immediately feel “at home” reading Sergoyan’s The Gathering Place. Wherever Armenians have migrated, they have rebuilt their ethnic community as soon as they founded a “club,” which perpetuates their heritage—language, fine arts and literature.

I was surprised to learn that Armenians migrated East, to Shanghai, for example. Being an Armenian who migrated westward for a new home—as 99% of Armenians did—I had assumed 100% of us went West. This aspect may fascinate other readers, too.

Sergoyan has recorded the Shanghai Armenians’ innumerable contributions; it seems Diaspora Armenians have been valuable everywhere they form communities outside the boundaries of Armenia. Sergoyan is proving the adage, Once an Armenian, always an Armenian. Or, wherever an Armenian migrates, he will build a “club,” where his identity will be born again.

Shahan Shahnour, a respected Armenian novelist, has said, “The world will lose nothing if Armenians disappear from the face of the earth. But the world will gain a great deal if Armenians are allowed to survive and make use of their creative powers.” The Armenians of Shanghai have done this.

It’s interesting to note that the colors on the book jacket are those of the Armenian flag. The Gathering Place will publish on May 15, 2012. You can order it at your local bookstore or from Amazon. The book will also be available in Kindle.

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