Shant Kendarian's visit to Baghdad in 1980 at age seventeen was supposed to be short, just long enough to make peace with his estranged father before returning home to the United States. But Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and sealed off Iraq's borders to every man of military age--including Shant. Suddenly forced onto the frontlines, Shant saw his two-week visit turn into a nightmare that lasted for ten years. After the horrors of the Iran-Iraq War, Shant was forced to fight in Desert Storm. He miraculously survived two wars, minefields, sinking boats, fires, starvation, heavy interrogation, and solitary confinement, but what broke him in the end was his love affair with a female soldier named Monica. Yet throughout this whole ordeal, Shant never lost his respect for people, his faith in God, or his sense of humor. Gripping from the very first page, 1001 Nights in Iraq presents a human story that provides unique insight into a country and culture that are only hinted at in the headlines.
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Shant Kenderian immigrated to the United States at the age of fifteen with his mother. He has earned several degrees, including a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from John Hopkins University. He currently works for The Aerospace Corporation in the Los Angeles area, where he lives with his wife and three children.
Over the past twenty-one years, Mr. Collins has been seen on Northwest Stages including The Group Theatre, TAG, Village Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Children's Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre and The Seattle Repertory Theatre. Favorite roles include Seymour in Little Shop Of Horrors, (Village Theatre) and Matt in The Fantasticks, (ACT). Mr. Collins has had the good fortune and distinct pleasure to be involved with two collaborations with Speeltheatre, Holland at the Seattle Children's Theatre; Nicky Somewhere Else and more recently Glittra's Mission. Mr. Collins has received three prestigious Footlight Awards for his work as Huck Finn in Big River and Valentine LaMar in Babes In Arms, (both with Village Theatre) and Finn in Into The West (for Seattle Children's Theatre). In addition to Live Theatre, Mr. Collins can be heard on the original cast recordings of David Austin's A Christmas Carol and Bucket Of Blood.From Publishers Weekly :
Kenderian was on a brief trip to Iraq to visit his father in 1980 when the Iran-Iraq war broke out, and he was trapped under Saddam Hussein's rule until after the end of the first Gulf War in 1991. Being both an American and a Christian, Kenderian's harrowing experiences are recorded in careful detail, offering a compelling portrait of a nightmarish time. Collins splits the difference between plain-spoken English and precise pronunciation, choosing to primarily lean on the former and save the latter for Iraqi names and terminology. His voice is occasionally too normal-sounding, too placidly self-assured, to adequately convey the horror of Kenderian's story, but for the most part Collins gamely inhabits the grim world of 1980s Iraq.
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