MIKE POGOSIAN–STAFF WRITER
On the night of February 22, 1996, at St. Paul Armenian Church, there was a gathering. The gathering was for Mark Arax and the signing of his book, In My Father’s Name a Family, a Town, a Murder. When you walked into the hall there was an overwhelming feeling. There was warmth, community, and most of all pride. It was a time to gather and recognize one of our own who had succeeded in accomplishing his dream. Also it was a homecoming for Arax from a long journey.
All around me, I only heard comments of how well the book was written or how much someone had enjoyed reading the book. You can imagine how happy we were when Arax himself read portions of his book to the audience. Remembering that the book is based on his family history, and not a fictional account, this is the story of the struggles and tragedies that his family has faced throughout their lives. He began with his grandfather’s journey to America and read portions up to his father’s death in Fresno. I was drawn in by his narrative and emotionally bound by the events one family went through. There were parts that Mark Arax read that made us laugh and parts that were deeply sad.
The event was not simply to gather and listen to reading or seek an author’s signature. It was a evening of rememberance for many. Numerous people were friends and family who associated with the reading because they were there. Certainly the reading stirred up memories that were long forgotten. Both joyous and melancholy, reflections of the not so distant past left its impression on all.
It is a profound moment when so many can be touched so deeply at one time. Mark Arax’s book and presence defined that moment. Although I didn’t know him personally, I was truly affected by his experience and the tragedy that directed his personal journey. Without hesitation I recomend In My Father’s Name a Family, a Town, a Murder, not only as a history of Fresno but as a gripping account of the search for truth.