22 August 2014

The Almond Tree by Michele Cohen Corasanti, Book review

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Garnet Publishing; First Edition edition (September 30, 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859643297
  • Also available in KINDLE format


Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other.
On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality.
With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ichmad begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence and loss, and discovers a new hope for the future.
Reminiscent of The Kite Runner and One Thousand Splendid Suns, this is an uplifting read, which conveys a message of optimism and hope.

My thoughts:

A poignant story that will reach out to those of us who yearn to see the Middle East conflicts resolved peacefully once and for all. You might call me a dreamer but after reading this powerful if provocative novel, I believe now more than ever it can be done.

Michelle's stunning first novel takes no sides and gives no quarter in this novel. Her clear and concise writing reflects a deep understanding of a situation thought to be explosive at the best of times. Yet there is hope despite the heinous horrors of war and the decidedly selfish views of those involved. Amongst those hurting are the innocents as always.
Still, Arabs and Jews lived peacefully in Palestine for generations and with God's help, it will happen again.

That said, I must also point out this is purely a work of fiction reflecting greatly the point of view of the author and if a reader notices any discrepancies in the historical or political facts, let it be remembered this is just that: a work of fiction. 

The main protagonist and his family might seem extraordinary in their love for each other and their peaceful approach compared to the average Palestinian featured daily on the news yet we must believe they are more the norm than the exception. In doing so we are able to believe in this tale of love, honour and duty.

It would be remiss of me not to point out that graphic details are included in this novel, not unlike daily news sadly yet the author managed to imbue a sense of hope of such a magnitude, you will begin to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

A story of survival amidst injustice, The Almond Tree will stay with you I imagine just like it will with me. Don't miss it!

5 Stars!

Note to readers: Due to graphic contents, recommended for mature readers only!

Meet the Author:

Michelle Cohen Corasanti has a BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a MA from Harvard University, both in Middle Eastern Studies.
She also holds a law degree. A Jewish American, she has lived in France, Spain, Egypt and England and spent seven years in Israel.
The Almond Tree is her first novel.

Visit her website (HERE)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author as part of it's promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

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