Search
Close this search box.

A delightful invitation to Explore Armenia

Experience the Delightful World of Armenia in Taleen Voskuni’s Debut Novel, Sorry, Bro

Golden Gate Bridge main image for Sorry Bro post
Sorry, Bro Book Cover

Title

Sorry, Bro

Author(s)

Taleen Voskuni

Genre

Sapphic Fiction | Women’s Fiction

Grab some sourj and prepare to be whisked away on a whimsical journey as you delve into the pages of Taleen Voskuni’s debut novel, Sorry, Bro. This captivating tale explores the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships within Armenian culture and offers a delightful window into the lives of first-generation Americans and their surprisingly relatable experiences.

Raised in Miami, I, like many others, embrace my Cuban heritage by speaking Spanish, whipping up mouthwatering Cuban cuisine, and observing holiday traditions in their full splendor. Well, at least most of them. Since I don’t eat meat, I skip the whole “roasting a whole pig for hours inside a wooden box buried in the ground” part during Christmas. I mean, come on, who’s got the stomach for that?

Unfolding in a charming first-person narrative, Sorry, Bro takes us on a lighthearted romp with Nareh Bedrosian, an Armenian American who initially seems to shy away from her cultural roots. As she navigates around her identity and grapples with the daunting task of informing her family about her bisexuality after a breakup with her non-Armenian boyfriend on the verge of proposing, Nareh finds herself reluctantly attending Explore Armenia events, a week-long cultural extravaganza culminating in a grand banquet. Little does she know that this journey will lead her to encounter the enigmatic Erebuni, a remarkable Armenian woman dedicated to preserving Armenian heritage.

Although the attraction is instant, Nareh and Erebuni couldn’t be more different. While Nareh battles with genocide fatigue, Erebuni—an open bisexual—passionately advocates for the recognition of the Armenian genocide and educates others about its historical significance. Furthermore, Nareh longs to embrace her bisexuality openly, a sentiment she believes is at odds with her traditional Armenian upbringing.

No matter one’s nationality, culture, or age, coming out as queer to family is never an easy feat. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes. But imagine being outed in a room filled with your Armenian relatives, where gossip whirls quicker than the eye-watering odor of burning pita bread. It’s enough to make anyone break into a cold sweat. Belonging to an immigrant culture notwithstanding, the internal struggle and self-doubt associated with revealing one’s truth are palpable. Still, once the truth is spoken, liberation washes over. Amid the comical antics and heartwarming moments, this book serves as a gentle reminder of the lingering stigma attached to being queer, even in the mid-2020s. Yet, it manages to do so poignantly. It keeps readers invested in its enchanting characters as the story unfolds.

Masterfully woven within the novel’s pages, Voskuni regales us with snippets of Armenian history, using Erebuni’s bewitching character as a conduit to unravel the layers of a culture steeped in tradition. Through her lens, we discover the allure of Armenian heritage, enticing us to explore this fascinating world ourselves.

But what truly shines in this novel is Voskuni’s unabashed display of Armenian pride. It seamlessly blends the events that led to her people’s diaspora within the story and resonates with other immigrants. Whether it’s the trials of assimilating into American life, the pangs of mom guilt, the weight of preserving traditions and language, or the shared colloquialisms that weave their way into our ethnic identities, it’s impossible not to feel a kinship with the characters on these pages.

I cannot help but giggle when reading Nareh’s description of meeting an Armenian American who exudes a quintessential accent and is poised to drop a casual “bro” at any moment. As someone from a different cultural background, I find myself nodding my assent because, hey, we say “bro” too! It has become a beloved lexicon component, just like our familiar expression “oye.”

Taleen Voskuni has written an insightful, entertaining world. I love how she writes, effortlessly meshing humor with cultural exploration, leaving readers laughing and with a greater understanding of the universal beauty found in embracing one’s heritage. So, buy a copy, kick back, and let the romance unfold. You won’t regret it, bro!

Follow my bookstagram.

Support independent booksellers and your local library.

About the author(s).

Taleen Voskuni is an award-winning writer who grew up in the Bay Area Armenian diaspora. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in English and currently works in tech in San Francisco. Besides a newfound obsession with writing rom-coms, she spends her free time cultivating her kids, garden, and dark chocolate addiction. Her first novel, Sorry, Bro, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, was named an Amazon editor’s pick, and was favorably reviewed in The New York Times. Sorry, Bro also won the 2023 Golden Poppy Award for best romance. Lavash at First Sight is her second published novel.

More reviews