Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: The Almond Tree

Only a brilliant book can make the readers get attached to it as the pages fly by. This is one such book, which I can honestly say is the best ever book I have read since few days. For the very first time I found it hard to pause my reading to catch some sleep. With a most intriguing blurb, this book with no doubts has a powerful story line.

Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ahmed 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 Ahmeds twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his familys home and possessions confiscated and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ahmed 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. The Almond Tree humanizes a culture and brings characters from a distant land to life.

When Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner made an impact after reading, Corasanti’s The Almond Tree is no less to it. With her brilliant writing, the author amazes the readers with a most powerful and inspiring story line. The story starts with a heart-rending incident where the little sibling of Ahmed, the protagonist, is killed in the landmine. Living in a village where these incidents are very common, Ahmed’s family is forced to leave their house by the army and is relocated to a small mud-brick hut over a small hill. The family of eight members settles in that small hut. Ahmed and his brother Abbas befriend the Almond tree near their house in which they spend most of the hours to watch the village. On Ahmed’s twelfth birthday everything turns topsy-turvy when he helps a stranger in hiding the weapons which he does without the knowledge of his family. The very next day, Ahmed’s father is imprisoned by the Israel army assuming him as a terrorist. He is then sentenced to 14 years. In order to make their family survive, Ahmed and Abbas join a construction company. Ahmed being the eldest takes the responsibility and struggles to keep his people alive. Meeting his father in the prison, Ahmed confesses his mistake of helping the stranger in hiding the weapons for which his father is undergoing the punishment. His father feels sorry for Ahmed’s guilt and asks him not to confess the truth to anyone.

Ahmed, who is brilliant in mathematics and science, participate in a Math competition with the help of his teacher. By winning the competition, he gets the scholarship at the Hebrew University to pursue his studies. Though his family doesn’t approve him leaving the village, his father encourages him to choose a different path. With his father’s support, he leaves the village and joins the University. There he finds everything new where people are free from army and enmity. Still he finds insecure in that city. By the end of the first year he is suspended from the college by a Professor. After so many struggles during the war period, he is asked to rejoin the university. Ahmed, along with his professor moves to The US where he meets Nora who happens to be a Jewish. They fall in love and decide to get married. Hearing this, Abbas thinks Ahmed has joined their enemies and leaves the village forever. After their marriage, Nora is killed by the Israel. What happens next? Will Ahmed continue his career in the field of Science? What happens to Abbas? Will Ahmed and Abbas meet again? To know the most intriguing climax, order your copy asap.

The author has done an amazing job with her first book. With a bold plot and the rich characterization, this book talks about the struggle of people in Palestine. Every character was given equal role and the narration was outstanding. With simple language, the story was very clear and the flow was maintained throughout the book. The way of handling Science and struggle was a new attempt. It showed the research done by the author in the field of Science. The cover page is designed well which portrays Ahmed and the Almond tree. Overall I could find no fault in the book.

To sum up my review, I would say Mrs. Corasanti has done an appreciable work in her first book. Though it seems to have some influence of The Kite Runner, this book has proven it own way to reach the people. I would give all 4.5/5 stars for this wonderful piece of work. I very strongly recommend this book for all book lovers.

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to

About the Author

Michelle Cohen Corasanti has a BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an 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 living in Jerusalem. The Almond Tree is her first novel.

Get your copies from Flipkart or Homeshop18.

Happy Reading :-)

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