At the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, held on May 24 in New York’s famed Plaza Hotel, Journey to Virginland: Epistle I, a novel by Armenian-American author Armen Melikian, was recognized as one of the year’s best three works in the humor/comedy category, according to a press release issued by the book’s publishers today.
The award, which includes a medal of honor for winners in various categories, is administered by the nonprofit Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group. It recognizes the year’s most outstanding English-language books released by independent publishers and university presses worldwide.
“I never intended to write a book of comedy per se,” Melikian said, following the award ceremony. “My focus has always been literary fiction, although I do see the world through the lens of humor, treating it as a grand theatrical stage, and my writing certainly reflects that.”
According to the book’s official website, “Journey to Virginland explores the breakneck paradigm shifts of the 21st century, navigating through the morass with the guidance of Dog, the novel’s loutish yet wise antihero.
“Through a devilishly iconoclastic story line, Dog parses the key cultural and religious failures that have made for a world held hostage by hyper-capitalism, consumerism, and post-9/11 realpolitik on the one hand, and an ominous resurgence of nationalism and religious extremism on the other.
“Yet far from basking in a prospect of doom, Dog embarks on an impassioned quest for identity and meaning, ultimately proposing an exuberant, decidedly life-affirming vision of human transformation.”