Godless Hour by Ara Iskanderian is a tale of magical realism, in which, for a single hour of one dark night, the statues of Yerevan are brought to life. During this supernatural hour, the greats and giants of the Armenian past debate their achievements in pursuit of an answer to the question “Who is the greatest among them?” What that answer might mean for anyone who dares to dream themselves worthy of their own statue plays out through this debut work. The illustrated novella blends both prose and poetry as it trots through Armenian history and culture. Merging past and present, it seeks to understand the inherited legacy and possible future that belongs to an Armenia that is rendered both fantastic and real by the author.
“Iskanderian lures us with the great names we all grew up with,” writes Arpi Sarafian in the Mirror Spectator. “The debates between Mesrop Mashtots and Tigran the Great, and between the other major players of our nation’s past, engage us fully. … build[ing] to a crescendo of excitement and intensity. Godless Hour is ‘a story of total fiction,’ [but] the ‘fictitious’ helps Iskanderian explore the ‘facts’ of our complicated existence from varied angles, bringing him closer to conveying the ‘truth,’ and making us wonder, with the celebrated novelist Virginia Woolf, if fiction is indeed fictitious. We surely appreciate the ‘truth’ of myths and legends which interweave the ‘magical’ and the ‘real.’”
Iskanderian is a lawyer and historian living in London. When time allows, he writes and draws. Godless Hour is his first published novella.