José Rodrigues dos Santos

 

O Homem de ConstantinoplaThe Man from Constantinople

(The Man from Constantinople)

Story

A man enters a luxurious hotel in Lisbon to see his dying father. Kaloust Sarkisian fell into a coma and the doctor says there isn’t much hope. While his son Krikor waits for the events to unfold, the bell boy tells him there’s a phone call for him. It’s a Turk calling from Istanbul with extraordinary news.

 “I found her!”, the Turk excitedly claims over the telephone line. “I found her after all these years!”

At that moment his father awakes from the coma and Krikor has to interrupt the conversation, for this will surely be his last opportunity to talk to him. Kaloust is indeed awake, but can barely move. After much effort, he points to a pile of papers and manages to whisper his final words.

“What is beauty?”

Then he falls back into the coma.

Dumbfounded by this behaviour on his deathbed, Krikor picks up the sheets of paper and realizes it’s a book his father wrote about his life. That night he dives into it, as the title intrigues him.

The Man from Constantinople.

The Ottoman Empire is on the verge of total collapse and the Armenian minority becomes the scapegoat. Caught up in the events, the Sarkisian family flees to Constantinople. Despite the tragedy of persecution surrounding him, little Kaloust falls in love with the great imperial capital and it’s while crossing the Bosphorus that for the first time he asks the question that will haunt him throughout his life.

“What is beauty?”

He comes across the very same question when contemplating Nunuphar’s ivory face, the powerful strokes of Rembrandt’s paintings and the complex architecture of the treacherous world of business, on a quest that would make him the biggest art collector of his times.

But Kaloust went farther.

He became the richest man on the planet.

Based on real events, The Man from Constantinople and its sequel, A Millionaire in Lisbon, fictionalizes the stunning story of the mysterious Armenian that changed the world – and definitely confirms José Rodrigues dos Santos as a major name in world literature.