As World War I begins, Constantinople is a seething hornet’s nest of corruption, crime, and prejudice. Tavid Kaloustian, a cunning and determined young Armenian, does whatever it takes to protect his family and friends from a quickly approaching genocide.
Trained as a chemist to work in the silk industry, Tavid trades his knowledge for both survival and the hefty profit of the opium trade. He is a major player in the local black market, moving stealthily through enemy forces often disguised as one of “them”. After Turkish soldiers killed his beloved grandfather, Tavid’s actions are fueled by rage. He becomes the misunderstood protector of his people; a charming one-man army, ready to take a life in order to save another. As he seeks revenge, however, he learns that things aren’t always, as they seem. He discovers that before his death, his grandfather had initiated a shrewd plan, setting Tavid on an obstacle-ridden path to reunite his family.
A novel based upon historic events, A Perfect Armenian leads us into the intimate world of cultural conflict. From Constantinople to Cyprus, the novel takes the twists and turns so deeply rooted in the duality of human nature.
Keri Topouzian was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 25, 1956, and then at 13, moved with his family to Birmingham, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982. Dr. Topouzian’s mother, a journalist, was born and raised in Detroit while his father, a mechanical engineer, was born in Utica, New York. His grand parents hailed from four different villages in Ancient Armenia (now part of Turkey), each immigrating separately to the United States.
Keri’s paternal grandfather, Mihran Topouzian, was from an Armenian village called Bardizag. In the early 1900’s, Mihran and his parents, along with his younger brother and sister traveled to New York where they purchased a farm and lived off that land. As an adult, Mihran left farming, purchased a small grocery store in Utica, New York, and married a young woman named Varsenig. Varsenig, Keri’s paternal grandmother, came from the village of Tchingiler, a city that is an integral part of ”A Perfect Armenian”. In 1915, Turkish soldiers forced Varsenig, her family and the rest of their village to walk from their home to the desert near Damascus, Syria. They walked hundreds of miles. The soldiers had convinced the villagers that they were traveling to safety from World War I, but in reality, many were deprived of food and water, and left to die. Along the way, Varsenig’s parents traded their silk rugs for rugs made of horsehair, a more suitable material with which to make tents. Once they had reached Damascus, however, Varsenig’s mother tragically died of pneumonia. Varsenig, her brother and their father survived the war and returned to Constantinople. There, her father died of a gunshot wound to the leg after trying to break up a fight between two of his friends. Varsenig and her younger brother were now alone. Each was placed in a different orphanage, she in France, and her brother in Greece. Later, relatives arranged her marriage to Mihran, who traveled to France and took her back to his home in Utica as his wife.
Keri’s Maternal grandmother, Arous Avedisian, came to the U.S. by way of the Armenian village of Averek. At the age of 3, she traveled with her mother and two half sisters and lived with them in Waukegan, Illinois. Keri’s maternal grandfather, Ardashes Baghdasar Yacoubian, was born in the village Kharpert. He bought and sold real estate for a living. He arrived in the U.S. between 1910 and 1912 with his older brother and two young sisters. He planned to earn enough money to later send for his parents and two other siblings, but World War I ensued and he lost touch with his remaining family. He never heard from them again.
Topouzian started writing “A Perfect Armenian” in 2003 and published the novel 7 years later. As a boy, his mother would critique all of his school papers with a discerning eye until they were perfect. Later in life he realized this was a blessing in disguise. His love of writing was further developed while preparing elaborate proposals for a medical document transcription company he had once owned. He found through this business that he enjoyed taking abstract ideas and putting them to paper. After reading a number of Armenian books of fiction, he became frustrated with the melancholy and destructiveness that surrounded Armenian characters. He dreamed of a story that found triumph within one of the worst times in Armenian history. This inspired him to write, “A Perfect Armenian”.
Topouzian is a physician who practices holistic and alternative medicine with offices in Grand Rapids, MI and Detroit, MI. He is active in the Armenian community but spends most of his free time with his wife and four growing children.