When Nar’s odar (non-Armenian) boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.
Enter Mom. Armed with plenty of mom guilt and an actual spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men (complete with their height and weight), Mom convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city—line dancing (okay), cooking class (better), brandy tasting (better yet).
But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or bro-slinging engineer that catches her eye at the very first gathering—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her winggirl, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so... sexy?
Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture, and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. Her mom doesn’t even want her wearing flats, how would she feel about Nar bringing home a woman? Nar is finally embracing the identities she’s stifled for years, but coming out could land her right in the center of the Armenian gossip mill, bringing lifelong shame to her mother.
The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing Explore Armenia banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds colliding. But Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness.
The inspiration behind the book: There are so few books on the Armenian diaspora experience, very few lighthearted ones, and even fewer LGBQTA+ stories. Armenians deserve joyous stories, queer Armenians even more so. I wanted to give visibility to the forgotten people within a forgotten people, and give them a happy ending. Also, I wanted to open the narrative on the complex contradictions of Armenian diaspora culture—how it is both painful and funny, beautiful but repressive. There are so many knots in the tree that comprise the Armenian experience, and I felt compelled to share a few of those knots with the world, in an uplifting way.
Cover art by Artist Liza Rusalskaya and Art Director Katie Anderson.