On 17 December 1980, at 9:47 am, two men shot the Turkish consul-general to Sydney and his bodyguard near the consul’s home in Vaucluse. The assassins aimed, fired, and vanished.
A finalist in the 2018 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award, My Name is Revenge is a novella set in 1980s Sydney and based on true events, including this assassination and tracing back to the Armenian genocide of World War I. It includes a companion essay exploring the story’s historical context.
Ashley Kalagian Blunt weaves a mostly-forgotten strand of our history into a compelling contemporary crime story. My Name is Revenge manages to be both unflinching in its depiction of inherited hatreds and compassionate about the experience of living with the terrible aftermath of a genocide that the world has largely ignored.
– Emily Maguire, shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award & Stella Prize
A heartfelt and gripping story of family, hardship and resilience.
– Candice Fox, two-time Ned Kelly Award winner
Ashley Kalagian Blunt delivers what truly potent novellas are capable of: awakening us to new possibilities of thought and feeling. As with Orwell’s Animal Farm and Garner’s The Children’s Bach, this story raises questions that linger and does not give us easy answers. Raw, intense and at times unbearably tender, Kalagian Blunt gives voice to survivors of the Armenian genocide — voices that cry out to be heard in their power and poignancy, their historic hurts and continuing hope for redemption.
– Katerina Cosgrove, author of Bone Ash Sky
My Name Is Revenge is a fascinating and expertly-crafted story based on a little-known event in Australia’s history. In the compelling novella, Kalagian Blunt handles this sensitive topic with empathy and an impressive attention to detail, drawing the reader in with intriguing characters and a strong sense of place. The accompanying essay brings to life the struggles faced by Armenian refugees and their children as they strived to be accepted by their adopted homelands, while governments sought to erase evidence of the atrocities committed against the Armenian population. The two separate but linked pieces of literature come together to pose an important and difficult question to readers: Can violence ever be justified? It’s clear that Kalagian Blunt doesn’t condone violence – but as she gently points out, there is often a fine line between justice and revenge.
– Amanda Ortlepp, author of Claiming Noah
Against a backdrop of eucalypts and thrumming cicadas, Kalagian Blunt deftly sketches her portrait of a family reckoning with its past. In her interweaving of Australian and Armenian histories, Kalagian Blunt illustrates and animates just how intricately linked her forebears’ past is with Australia’s own. Dealing imaginatively with questions of radicalisation, displacement, and assimilation, this story feels very pertinent to our current political climate, and makes for a gripping read.
– Adele Dumont, author of No Man Is an Island
A story that should be known by a wider audience … and trust me, it’s compelling reading.
– Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers
A moving and informative piece of writing. Its history lesson is worthwhile, but even more so is its exploration of family, community and outsiders. It’s about the way that denial doesn’t solve a thing in life, and acknowledgement of the past is the very least that we owe our forebears.
– Karen Chisholm, Newtown Review of Books
As you finish and catch your breath, you realise you’ve devoured a fascinating narrative and essay, but you’ve also learned about the Armenian Genocide of World War I, in which as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed by order of the Ottoman Government. … My Name is Revenge is immersive and affecting, written with balance and compassion.
– Fiona Robertson, Australian author
Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s accomplished My Name is Revenge is a gritty story of justice denied and how it reverberates in the lives of migrant families.
– Dasha Maiorova, Australian author
The pace of the story and the narrator’s worries immediately build and sustain a high pitch of tension.