Periodically bolting out of the Boston apartment that keeps her safe in a world unmoved by her existence, clad in the heavy sweaters and thick wool socks that shield her barren spinsterhood, the Auntie of Hapet Kharibian's “Home in Exile” also breaks out of the box that imprisons most portraits of Armenian American women. As Auntie exerts her pittance of domestic authority by shopping for Ajax and picking green beans for an aged father's stew, nurturing insanity through her idle days, the reader briefly glimpses a refreshing truthfulness behind the types and stereotypes that populate much Armenian American literature. Auntie's life reflects a dual injustice: her silent reproaches to a dutiful nephew who visits weekly to shave his grandfather echo the equally inarticulate reproaches of numberless women unseen and unrecorded. Auntie reminds us that nowhere in Armenian American writing do we find a detailed and sustained portrait of a three-dimensional Armenian woman; indeed, in a literature that documents marginal experience — both in the Old Country and in America — the Armenian woman is exiled to its outer edges.

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