The Lost I


The Lost I is Choghig Kazandjian’s first novel. It was initially published in 2004 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (under the author name of Choghig Hanssian), then in 2009. Most recently, the Kindle edition was released and is available for download on Amazon.

Choghig Kazandjian was featured on Canada’s CTV, in connection to the topics and themes which run through her debut novel:

The story is set during the Lebanese Civil War, and follows the everyday lives of two young newlyweds Nayla and Samer, in their struggle to survive and to live as normal a life as possible, given the circumstances. A life which involves gatherings with friends and neighbours, over lunch, dinner and coffee breaks. A life which involves difficulty, risk, and uncertainty, as their beloved city is ravaged in front of their eyes, and as scenes of fear and terror replace the happy, loving memories they formed growing up.

The book offers real insight into how people cope in such terrible conditions and what it must be like to have to endure them. It offers an unbiased account of how war sweeps through the lives of innocent people, immensely affecting them, no matter what their color, race, religion, or political influences are. It shows how war slowly but gradually dissolves the sense of belonging and identity of all those who come into contact with it.

This book is a great read for people of all ages. It’s interesting as a fictional story, or as a recollection of part of history. Due to the current state of affairs in the world, it is believed that a vast majority can identify with this book; particularly those who have fled a war zone. Human beings are the same anywhere in the world; the fear they experience when held (whether physically, mentally, or emotionally) at gunpoint is the same regardless of their nationality or religion. Unfortunately, war is a universal language arguably as powerful as love is claimed to be, and therefore, this book holds universal appeal.

If you have read The Lost I, or would like to read it, or are in the process of reading it, we would love to hear from you!

The following is a short excerpt from The Lost I:

There he was, in the middle of the road, a rifle in his left hand and a black dog leaping and barking next to him, on his right.

Samer rolled down his window and asked Nayla to do the same with hers.

A few seconds and the gunman was leaning through the car window, his kalashnikov almost touching Samer’s face, his black hound pounding and barking ferociously.

“Your identification,” he yelled. He had long black hair tied up in a ponytail. His face was not shaven. He was wearing baggy trousers in khaki and a khaki shirt. In his made- up uniform, he barely looked sixteen.

Samer took his passport from the inside pocket of his jacket and calmly handed it to the teenage gunman. The teenager held it open in his hand for a brief moment, looked at the picture and threw it back inside the car through the open window. Then trembling with rage he opened the car door and shouted. “Get out!”

3 Responses to The Lost I

  1. adelnehmeh says:

    Very interesting outcome of such a life.

    I would like to ask this question: Do you feel that even though you have left Lebanon seeking peace, seeking a safer haven for your aspirations and family, Lebanon has not left you in peace. If your life, ever since you left, has been revolving around Lebanon. Your writings and thoughts are centered around Lebanon, even in the short video above, all I could learn about you was that you are Lebanese.
    Could be it be possible that we (since I relate to many of the things you talk about) cannot let go of Lebanon and despite residing abroad and seeking peace of mind, we somehow unconsciously retaliate to that feeling of alienation by residing in Lebanon at least in our minds. It is as if we don;t want to surrender to the loss of sense of belonging and the separation from what we hold close to our hearts, so we end up living there mentally. We feel we have left, but the truth is that we have only changed the background….

    • chichikir says:

      Adel, I think Lebanon lives in all of us no matter where we are. I have lived more than half of my life outside, but when I close my eyes at night I still dream of Lebanon, of the people I left behind, of my home. I don’t think we can belong anywhere the way we belonged there. :(

  2. susanrouchard says:

    Dear ChK,
    although I have never been to Lebanon, I wrote as a teenage girl this poem about the civil war, that I hope you will feel at peace with.

    WAR 1984

    City at war…………..

    With itself alone

    Born from subtle differences

    Lost in the wakes of time.

    A house is thrown down

    Death and loneliness all around

    The cause is a word in the sacred book

    Understood and misunderstood.

    We are right, you are wrong

    You must die

    For you do not believe

    In the same

    God as I.

    A square where children played

    Reduced to rumble

    Now the boys and girls play no more

    Guns are their toys.

    We are right, you are wrong

    You must die

    For you do not believe

    In the same

    God as I.

    City at war…………

    With those it should protect

    No one will live between its walls

    As long as they need to select.

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