Beatriz Badikian-Gartler, Ph.D.





by Beatriz Badikian Gartler



April 2006 BOOK REVIEW

by Elaine Thomopoulos

In “Old Gloves: a 20th Century Saga,” Beatriz Badikian-Gartler paints a picture of immigrant life with bright colors and vivid imagery; with pain, pathos, unfulfilled promises, as well as hope for new beginnings. In describing her novel, she says that the novel is based on her family’s history: that the family’s story is the skeleton and she adds the flesh. Flesh and blood is what she does add, making each of her characters alive, as if they are in the room with us. It shows them in all their humanity, including their imperfections and foibles, as well as their love, courage and perseverance.  continued

January 2006 BOOK REVIEW

SUBJECT: La Raza story - Una saga del siglo XX A través de esta novela, Beatriz Badikian nos propone escarbar los sucesos que reivindican a nuestros antepasados, a cuestionar nuestro árbol genealógico y las circunstancias históricas que han determinado la emigración y los cambios demógraficos. Los personajes en Old Gloves, representan historias que Beatriz ha documentado con ayuda de sus padres para compartir con sus lectores en esta obra.

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October, 2005 BOOK REVIEW:

‘Old Gloves’ Spares the Words, Delivers Vivid Portrayal of Last Century’s Atrocities
Reviewed By David M. Kinchen
Huntington News Network Book Critic

Hinton, WV (HNN) – Coming across four pairs of old gloves that her mother gave her in preparation for yet another trip, Alicia in Beatriz Badikian Gartler’s “Old Gloves: A 20th Century Saga” (Chicago: Fractal Edge Press, 160 pages, $15; available by order at bookstores or from reflects about her tumultuous life so far – she’s still in her 20s – and the
even more tumultuous life of her father, Greg and her mother, Libby as Greg and Libby leave Chicago in 1978 to return to Greece.

Alicia is tired of moving and has found a new life in the very cosmopolitan city by the lake. She was born in Argentina in 1952, following the 1951 emigration of Greg – then known as Grigoris -- and Libby – called Elefteria (Greek for “liberty”) from Greece to Buenos Aires.

In Argentina, the Armenian refugee Grigoris – he was Krikor in Turkey when he and his family endured a forced march to be evacuated along with hundreds of thousands of other Greeks and Armenians in one of the 20th Century’s many ethnic removals – becomes Gregorio and his wife becomes Libertadad – Spanish
for “liberty.”

Alicia is Greek and Armenian and Argentinean and now she’s a Chicagoan in a city that has become a refuge for many nationalities. Gartler’s novel reads like a memoir and I suspect there’s more than a little of the author in the character of Alicia. Beatriz Badikian Gartler was born in Argentina and has
taught literature at a number of Chicago universities, including Roosevelt University, University of Illinois – Chicago and DePaul University.

I can relate to Alicia’s – and Gartler’s -- love of Chicago: Both of my parents were first generation Chicagoans whose parents were ethnic refugees from different parts of the Russian Empire. Chicago is part of my DNA and was my first love among big cities, my home for several years after college and a place I return to annually for cultural fill ups. Even as I write this, I’m preparing for my annual train journey to Chicago.

Alicia’s dad is a difficult person to live with, a man who finds brief
satisfaction in a job, only to become restless, looking for another country to explore. He endures life in German-occupied Greece in World War II, always fearing that his communist leanings will result in his capture by the Germans and their right-wing Greek collaborators.

Krikor-Gregoris wants to go to Mexico, a favored destination of European communists, but the family can’t get permission, so they immigrate to Argentina, a relatively sparsely populated nation that has attracted Jews, Armenians and especially Italians. Alicia is happy in Argentina, with a circle of girlfriends and is mortified at the thought of being uprooted to move to the U.S. Restless Greg tries New York City and the Los Angeles area before finally settling in Chicago.

The author’s forte is crafting vivid portraits of her characters in sparse but expressive language. Alicia is thwarted in her desire to study literature in Argentina. Her increasingly bitter father wants her to work to add to the meager income of the struggling family.

Beatriz Badikian Gartler follows in the steps of Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov, expressive prose stylists for whom English was a second language.

Flashbacks to 1907 recount the death marches of ethnic Greeks and Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks; especially poignant is the journey Alicia’s maternal grandmother Evgenia and her husband Odysseas from interior Turkey to the evacuation point on the coast. Gartler vividly describes the horror of the march, which prefigured marches of Jews by Nazis during World
War II.

Similarly Greg, then called Krikor, undergoes similar horrors in 1922 when his father Artin is arrested and the family endures a death march. The atrocities committed by the Turks against the Armenians are well documented, but most people don’t realize that ethnic Greeks living in what is now Turkey were subjected to what later generations would call “ethnic cleansing.”

“Old Gloves” displays a remarkable range of emotions for such a short book. By turns it’s humorous and horrifying, but there’s always hope that better things are on the horizon. I look forward to the continuing saga of Alicia in the Windy City.

Publisher’s web site:




Beatriz Badikian-Gartler, Ph.D.
1867 N. Bissell
Chicago, IL 60614


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updated 8/12/07