One of the many delights of Michael Barakiva's One Man Guy is the inclusion of Armenian culture amidst the charming coming of age story. We wanted to learn more about Michael's decision to weave his own cultural history into the novel and how his own life influenced the novel. Here's what he had to say:
When you grow up Armenian, even half-Armenian like me, you grow up with certain obligations. First and foremost, you have to procreate. Ideally this would be with another Armenian, but I suspect anyone swarthy would do. When I told my mom I was gay, she told me I still had to provide her grandchildren — those of you who have read One Man Guy will appreciate the scene for which this exchange is lifted identically.
I’m not sure if this obligation to procreate existed before the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century, during which over one million Armenian citizens where systemically killed by the Ottoman Government. Turkey still denies these mass killings as genocide, although 26 countries do (including France, Russia and 43 U.S. States), adding insult to injury to what Armenians call Medz Yeghern (“The Great Crime”).